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Updated from 9:27 a.m. EDT



named Lewis Booth president and chief operating officer of the automaker's European operation to replace Martin Leach, who resigned from the company earlier this month.

Booth, 54, had been president and chief executive of Mazda, a Ford affiliate. Mazda's board has appointed Hisakazu Imaki as its new president and CEO. Additionally, John Parker was named executive vice president and assistant to the president at Mazda.

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Ford said Booth joined Mazda in 2002 as senior adviser of corporate strategy. Prior to that appointment, he was president of Ford's Asia-Pacific and Africa division. He joined Ford in 1978 as a financial analysis coordinator with product development in Ford Europe, and during the 1980s and early 1990s he held a series of management positions in Britain and Germany.

Ford acquired a 25% stake in Mazda in 1979 and increased that to 33.4% in 1996.

Shares of Ford closed Wednesday at $11.64 on the

New York Stock Exchange