Joseph Bakaj is vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe, effective Nov. 1, 2013.
Bakaj is responsible for all product programs for the company’s European operations and reports to Stephen Odell, executive vice president and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa; Hau Thai-Tang, Executive Vice President, Product Development and Purchasing; and Steven Armstrong, Group Vice President and President, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Bakaj has more than 28 years of product development experience at Ford Motor Company, working in Britain, Germany, Japan and the United States.
Prior to this role, Bakaj served as vice president, Powertrain Engineering, responsible for overseeing all engine and transmission engineering worldwide, beginning in January 2011.
In April 2008, Bakaj was appointed vice president, Global Product Programs, Ford Motor Company, and vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe.
Bakaj was previously vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe, a position he held beginning in September 2005. Bakaj managed the development and launch of all of the company’s new products, including the 2006 Ford Galaxy and acclaimed S-MAX model, which was voted “Car of the Year 2007” in Europe, and the latest generation Ford Mondeo, new Ford Kuga crossover and all-new global Ford Fiesta small car. He also was a member of Ford of Europe’s executive operating committee.
Before rejoining Ford of Europe in 2005, Bakaj was senior managing executive officer in charge of design, product planning, research and development for Mazda Motor Corporation and responsible for the worldwide development of all Mazda products.
Immediately prior to his position at Mazda, he worked at Ford as vehicle engineering director for North American truck product development.
His past experience includes powertrain engineering and extensive noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and chassis work. Notably, he was vehicle engineering manager for the 2000-model Ford Mondeo and was named Engineer of the Year in 2000 by U.K.-based Autocar magazine for his efforts on that vehicle project. Bakaj was also recognized as an Automotive News All Star in 2011 for his work on the 1.6- and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines and received the 2011 Automotive News Europe Eurostar award for his extensive work on renewing Ford products in Europe.
Bakaj, born 1962, earned a degree in mechanical engineering from City University in London before joining Ford of Britain in 1985. He is married with one child and is fluent in German and English.