Ford hires general counsel and policy chief

Jul 14, 2021
Steven Croley is a former federal attorney

Ford Motor Company has hired Steven Croley as its chief policy officer and general counsel, effective July 12.

The new policy leadership role was anticipated last October when Ford president and CEO Jim Farley announced organizational changes at the company. Croley reports to Farley and works closely with Jon Huntsman, a member of Ford’s board who in April was appointed vice chair for policy, an internal senior advisory role to Farley and executive chair Bill Ford.

Croley was most recently a partner in the Washington, DC office of law firm Latham & Watkins, where he was a member of the litigation and trial department and helped clients with legal policy and regulatory compliance, including a focus on energy and the environment. He was general counsel for the US Department of Energy from 2014 to 2017 and spent the previous four years in the White House, first as special assistant to former President Barack Obama for regulatory policy, then as deputy counsel overseeing legal policy.

Earlier in his career, Croley was a special assistant US attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan’s Civil Division and a professor, then associate dean, at the University of Michigan Law School.

John Mellen, who delayed his planned retirement from Ford a year ago to take on the role of general counsel, will end his career with the company on September 1 after transitioning his legal responsibilities to Croley.

‘Steve has deep leadership experience at the intersection of law and policy and will add strength to our terrific legal, government relations and sustainability teams,’ Farley says in a statement. ‘His background will be invaluable as we partner with governments and others to speed development of breakthrough products and services that help give more people the freedom to move and pursue their dreams.

‘For 40 years, John has helped safeguard our customers, our company and our people with his sharp legal expertise, sound judgment and principled approach. We deeply appreciate John’s leadership over the past year as our general counsel and a member of our executive leadership team.’

Mitch Bainwol, Ford’s chief government relations officer, and Bob Holycross, vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, now report to Croley, as does Rebecca Pagani, who has joined Ford from Amazon as chief privacy officer.

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