Jul-16-2012 6:00 AM ET
PRETORIA, South Africa – Ford recently talked with Dean Stoneley, vice president, marketing, sales and service Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA), about his career and his time with FMCSA.
Q: When did you move to South Africa?
A: I moved to South Africa in July 2010, just in time to miss the soccer world cup that ended a couple of weeks earlier.
Q: What do you feel you have achieved so far at FMCSA?
A: I feel the greatest achievement has been in the area of empowerment and team development. I believe a primary role of a leader is to create other leaders. To instill this culture across the organisation, we have shifted to an environment of information sharing and support across roles and functions. The exciting thing about changing the culture of a team is that the benefits are enduring.
Q: When did you first join Ford and what has your career involved since?
A: I joined Ford in 1992 and have been fortunate to have held a variety of interesting roles across marketing, sales and service. I have worked in three different sales regions across Canada and have held various marketing positions in the US & Canada.
Q: How has Ford changed since you first started?
A: I have always been impressed with the passion and commitment of Ford employees; and that has not changed over the years. What has changed is the view that a company culture is something that is fixed and we must accept. The One Ford plan has completely transformed the Ford culture for the better with everyone working together for a common purpose.
Q: What is your impact on FMCSA's business within the region?
A: To focus everything we do on the few key deliverables that define success in our market. It’s all too easy to get caught in the trap of spending countless hours in meetings and yet losing sight of what really matters – selling vehicles, delighting customers and making profits.
Over the past two years we have consistently grown market share in South Africa. In 2011, we increased Ford sales by 34 percent in an industry that was up 17 percent. This year we have just launched the all-new Ranger and have set all-time any-time sales records for two months in a row. At the same time we continue to improve the perception of the Ford Brand. Over the past two years we have increased our Brand Health metrics more than any of the top 5 OEMs that we measure.
Q: How have you developed quality measures through your current position at Ford?
A: By putting robust processes in place for everything from sales planning to variable marketing. In MS&S we continually need to demonstrate that our marketing spend is an investment, not a cost. The way to do this is with metrics.
Q: What are your core values?
A: I am intensely curious and this quest for information leads me to always look for new and better ways of doing things. As a result, I place a high value on creativity. Since corporate structures are not always kind to creativity, I make it my goal to nurture and protect this whenever I can.
I also believe in inclusiveness, diversity and maintaining respectful relationships. One of the best ways to improve productivity in a resource constrained environment is to ensure that people bring 100 percent of themselves to work every day. This is only possible in an environment where everyone feels respected and can truly be themselves.
Q: What is your working style?
A: To push ownership, empowerment and accountability down through the organisation.
Q: What would you say have been your greatest accomplishments and challenges so far?
A: My previous position was VP Marketing, Ford of Canada. I think the biggest challenge and accomplishment was being part of the team that transformed our business in Canada. On the marketing side, we recast ourselves as a challenger brand and developed a comprehensive plan to take on the market leaders. In sales and share, Ford was number 4 in the market when we started the plan and we became number1 by the time I left in 2010. That was probably the most exciting ride of my career.
Q: What did you do after attending school?
A: I worked in a record store. I still collect vinyl records to this day, so obviously it had an impact on me.
Q: What do you do to relax in your spare time?
A: I love to travel and spend time with my family. My interests include music, art, motorcycles, photography and mountain biking. As a family we also enjoy skiing -- but it’s not something we have done since moving to Africa.
Q: Briefly, hat does Go Further mean to you?
A: For me, Go Further is a promise. It’s the promise we make to ourselves, our dealers and our customers to always exceed expectations. I think it captures perfectly who we are, where we need to go as a company, and the sense of urgency that is required.