Deborah Coleman, former group managing director of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, has been appointed vice president of global quality at the Dearborn plant in Michigan.

Deborah Coleman, former group managing director of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, has been appointed vice president of global quality at the Dearborn plant in Michigan.

Coleman, who was succeeded by Robert Graziano at the South African operation on December 1, will take over from Louise Goeser on January 1, 2005. Coleman was also elected as an officer to the company and will report to Jim Padilla, current chief operating office who will become Ford president effective from February 1, 2005.

Coleman joined Ford in June 1987 as an area manager at the Wixom assembly plant in Michigan. She held several management positions at the Wixom, Chicago and Dearborn plants before being appointed manager of the Ohio assembly plant in September 1994. Two years later, she became the company’s international quality director for vehicle operations and later still, the president, chief executive and chief operating officer for AutoAlliance, a Mazda and Ford joint venture.

She then moved on to become group managing director of Ford’s Southern African operation, where retail sales grew by nearly 19 per cent in the period January to November 2004. Over the same period, the Ford brand has grown by almost 60 per cent.

At the Auto Africa Expo in October, Coleman announced that the next generation Ford Focus would be built at the company’s Silverton plant in Pretoria. The four- and five-door models will be built for local sale and export to Australia and New Zealand.