Ford has appointed Lisa Brankin as managing director of its UK and Ireland business, making her one of the most powerful women in the British car industry.
The former sales director will be tasked with helping steer the business through the turmoil of Brexit, with imported vehicles facing a 10pc tariff if no EU trade deal is struck.
Ford has design and engineering bases in the UK, as well as engine production, but does not build cars here.
She takes over Andy Barratt, who announced on social media on Monday that he had left.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Mr Barratt, a 40-year veteran with Ford, was taking a “temporary leave of absence” with Ms Brankin standing in on an interim basis.
In a LinkedIn post, Mr Barratt changed his title to “retired ex Ford Motor Company”, saying his time with the company had been a “privilege”, adding that he was “retiring from Ford but not work”.
Ford said it was a “personal decision” for Mr Barratt to step down.
Ms Brankin joined Ford in 1990 as a graduate trainee, taking roles in the company’s sales, marketing and communications operations.
Roelant de Waard of Ford Europe said: “Lisa has shown great leadership over many years in her senior roles in the Ford of Britain team and is the right person to take the business forward in our largest market in Europe. At the same time, we thank Andy for his many years of service and contributions to Ford.”
Ms Brankin’s promotion makes her one of the very senior female executives in the UK’s notoriously male-dominated automotive industry.
The only other contender for the title is Alison Jones, UK managing director and global senior vice-president of Vauxhall-owner PSA Groupe.