Ford labor VP retiring as UAW talks loom

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.‘s top labor executive is retiring ahead of contract talks with the UAW later this year.

John Savona, vice president of Americas manufacturing and labor affairs for Ford Blue, will step down in March, the automaker said Wednesday. His successor will be Bryce Currie, who previously was chief manufacturing officer at supplier Johnson Controls.

Currie will join Ford on Jan. 30 to ensure a “smooth handoff” between the two leaders, the company said in a statement. He, like Savona, will report to Ford Blue President Kumar Galhotra.

Currie will oversee a team of some 70,000 employees at more than 30 facilities, Ford said. Before his three years at Johnson Controls, Currie spent six years at GE Aviation and 14 years working in manufacturing at TRW Automotive, which is now part of ZF Group.

“I see this less about returning to the auto industry than being part of creating something new and exciting,” Currie said in Ford’s statement. “Ford is helping define and deliver a future made possible by smart, connected gas and electric vehicles, and that’s very appealing to me.”

Savona has overseen Ford’s North America manufacturing footprint since 2021, having previously served as director of global manufacturing quality. His career at Ford has spanned 33 years, starting as a security officer at the Michigan Assembly Plant before advancing through regional and global roles.

“The arc of John’s Ford career has a storybook quality, but it’s been real and significant,” Galhotra said. “He’s highly regarded by colleagues in the plants and all of Ford, and his ability to connect with people on a very personal level has helped us navigate extraordinary challenges in the past few years.”

Automotive News selected Savona as a Notable Military Veteran in 2021. He joined the U.S. Army after high school and was stationed in Germany for three years before being hired by Ford in 1989.

“I couldn’t have dreamed where these 33-plus years would take me professionally and personally,” Savona said in a statement. “It’s been a privilege to work at Ford and to grow with and learn from so many great people, especially the dedicated men and women who make our plants go every day.”

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