Volvo CEO Frederik Arp is stepping down to make way for Stephen Odell
2 September 2008

Ford is to replace Volvo CEO Fredrik Arp (left) with Stephen Odell, the company has just announced. The move, which is effective from 1 October, firms up the Blue Oval's commitment to its premium Swedish sub brand.

A statement just released by Ford Motor Company reveals that Arp - who has held the Volvo top job since 2005 - decided to leave the company of his own accord.

His replacement Stephen Odell, 53, has played a key role in Ford's European resurgence in recent years as chief operating officer. Now he'll be tasked with boosting Volvo's floundering sales.

Ford boss Alan Mulally said: "Stephen is the right person - together with Lewis Booth and the Volvo Cars Management Team - to take Volvo forward and to return the business to sustainable profitability."

Odell today described Volvo as "an iconic automotive brand" and said he plans to revitalise it by building on the "very Swedish attributes... that appeal to customers around the world."

Lewis Booth, boss of Ford Europe (right), told Autocar that "Volvo has to be Volvo. There will be no major changes in strategy," adding that Odell was a man who "knows how to maintain and build the brand".

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Alan Mulally described Arp as a "strong asset" who had steered Volvo through difficult times, but said it was the "right time" to begin the next stage of Volvo's recovery.

Odell has worked for Ford since 1980. He'll spearhead a cost-cutting restructuring plan at Volvo, which Ford Europe says will build on the brand's core strengths of safety, environmental sustainability and Scandinavian design.

Will Powell

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