Ford has chosen a new senior leader: John Dion will join the company as chief transformation officer on April 3, reporting to Ford CEO Jim Farley.
According to a company release, Dion will oversee global deployment of methodologies and tools based on Lean manufacturing and related concepts, capabilities that are central to realizing the value-creation and growth potential of the company’s Ford+ plan.
Dion has extensive background in successful large-company implementations of Lean systems and teaching those approaches to others. He’s held management and P&L positions in disciplines spanning research and development, operations, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and business acquisitions and integrations.
“Henry Ford was doing Lean manufacturing decades before anyone even defined the term,” Farley said. “High value and quality, continuous flow, rooting out waste – those things have been fundamental to who we are for more than a century. John’s an expert in all of the principles of Lean, and he and his team will provide our culture the urgency, guidance and support we need to reassert and raise Ford’s reputation for excellence, thrift and growth.”
Dion said the chance to be part of the company right now was too good to pass up.
“Jim and everyone I met spoke with great clarity and candor about what’s possible and required to fulfill the promise of Ford+,” he said. “What I saw isn’t a simple program or initiative, it’s a new way of doing business – to win and create value for customers and everyone who counts on Ford.”
Getting to Know Dion
Dion comes from ESAB Corp., a Maryland-based company involved in fabrication and specialty gas-control technology, where he most recently was vice president, Business Excellence. ESAB has roots that reach back to Sweden nearly 120 years ago, but was spun off in 2022 as an independent, publicly traded company. Dion led its industrial and cultural remaking.
He was with Danaher Corp. for 24 years until 2021, holding progressive leadership roles at six of its operating companies and Danaher Life Sciences. Dion led the integrations and transitions of several Danaher acquisitions, including the two largest: the $13 billion purchase of Pall Corp. and $21 billion acquisition of GE BioPharma, subsequently renamed Cytiva.
In those and other positions, Dion directed application of kaizen-based, Lean manufacturing and transactional systems that prioritized exceptional people and plans and repeatable processes, leading to superior execution and performance.