Archive : Jaguar Cars Selects Its Next Chairman


BUSINESS PEOPLE; Jaguar Cars Selects Its Next Chairman
Published: Thursday, March 26, 1992

Jaguar Cars Ltd. said yesterday that Nicholas V. Scheele would succeed William Hayden as chairman and chief executive when Mr. Hayden retires next week.

Mr. Scheele (pronounced SHAY-la), 48 years old, who joined the British luxury car maker in January as vice chairman, faces several challenges. The Ford Motor Company, which bought Jaguar in 1989 for $2.7 billion, has said its subsidiary will turn a profit before the end of the decade, but Ford would no doubt like quicker returns.

Last year, Jaguar and Ford of Britain combined for a loss of $1.1 billion. The operations may drag down Ford Motor’s expectation for “substantial improvement” in 1992, a prediction published in the annual report the company released yesterday.

Industry analysts said Jaguar’s challenges were numerous and urgent. Competitors have cut into the company’s market share, driving down sales to 25,000 worldwide in 1991 from 47,000 only two years earlier. Thomas O’Grady, who heads Integrated Automotive Resources, a consulting firm in Wayne, Pa., said Jaguar risked losing some of its cachet unless it increased sales.

Jean-Claude Gruet, an analyst with UBS Securities in New York, said that while the auto maker had won consistent plaudits for its exterior and interior styling, its quality must improve. After Ford bought Jaguar, the British company did make gains in quality, in part through using Ford’s clout and supplier network to obtain better-made parts. But many consumers still believe the cars have reliability problems.

“They still need to make more progress in that area,” Mr. Gruet said, adding that Mr. Scheele’s new position “will not be a cakewalk at all.”

Mr. Scheele was not available for comment yesterday. But in an interview published in the April issue of Car magazine, Mr. Scheele said his role as chairman of Jaguar was “to make Ford’s investment a more sane investment.” Many industry analysts believe Ford paid too much for Jaguar.

Mr. Scheele, born in Britain, joined Ford of Britain’s purchasing and supply department in 1966. He moved to Ford’s United States operations in 1978, where he continued his work in purchasing and supplies.

In 1988, he was transferred to Ford of Mexico as president, where he put into effect programs that rapidly improved the quality of parts from suppliers.

Mr. Scheele and his wife, Ros, have three children.

Keith Adams

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