Ford has appointed a new China chief in a company-wide restructuring as the global carmaker attempts to turn around disappointing sales in the world’s biggest car market. 

Ford has been operating without a China head of operations since January, when its former executive Jason Luo stepped down after only five months in the job, citing “personal reasons that predate his time with Ford”. 

Anning Chen, former chief executive of state-owned Chinese carmaker Chery, has been appointed to head the new business unit as well as leading all of Ford’s import and joint venture operations in China, the company said in a statement. 

Ford will also be spinning out its China business into a standalone unit, a move “designed to accelerate Ford’s return to profitable growth in China”. 

The new appointment comes as Ford attempts to turn around disappointing results from its overseas markets. Last year, its China sales fell 6 per cent even as overall sales of automobiles in China grew 3 per cent. Profit earnings for the first half of this year were one of the carmaker’s worst since it began operating in China in 2001, with sales on the mainland falling by a quarter year on year.

“Success in China is critical as we reposition our global business for long-term success,” said Ford chief executive Jim Hackett in a statement. “With today’s actions, we are strengthening our commitment to the China market and reorganizing our international markets to strengthen their performance.” 

Ford is set to announce third quarter profit earnings Wednesday, when Mr Hackett is expected to answer tough questions from investors and analysts about the company’s ongoing $11bn restructuring plan and the company’s sliding share price.

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