Ford Australia CEO Bob Graziano quits early

Ford Australia CEO Bob Graziano, the man who announced that Ford would quit its local car making operations, has himself quit.

AAP reports that Graziano (pictured) will stand down at the end of this month and be replaced by current Ford Australia vice-president of marketing, sales and service Briton Graeme Whickman.

"Leading the team in Australia through such an important and difficult time has been an honor," Graziano said in a statement.

"The progress we have made on transforming the business in the last two years has been dramatic – completely rethinking the experience our dealers deliver to our customers and dramatically improving sales and service satisfaction, securing robust agreements that will allow our manufacturing employees to move on from Ford with dignity and hope, announcing our new office near central Melbourne, and ensuring we can continue to serve our customers with 20 new vehicles by 2020.

“I am confident that this transformation will be successful and that we have the right team in place to accelerate that transformation."

Though, Graziano has been with Ford for 32 years, he is only 55. As News.com.au points out, this is a relatively young age for a car industry boss to step down. Most tend to retire when they about ten years older than Graziano.

His decision to quit also goes against his December 2013 claim that he would stay in the position until the close down is done and the company was transformed.

"I'll be here for a while longer, the intent is for me personally to see that through and then I'll move on from then," Graziano told Drive at the time.

According to Ford Australia spokesman Wes Sherwood, the company is committed to maintain its manufacturing operations until 2016, despite poor sales of its Falcon and Territory models.

“We are on track with our plan for our manufacturing transition in October 2016,” said Sherwood.

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