Ford Motor Company

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Thursday announced a group of high profile changes in its executive corps.

Nick Scheele is stepping down as president and will be replaced by COO Jim Padilla. Vice Chairman Allan Gilmour' is also stepping down. The moves are effective Feb. 1, 2005.

Scheele, 60, a 38-year veteran of the company, was a chief architect of the "Back to Basics" strategy the automaker launched in 2001 when Chairman Bill Ford also became CEO.

Gilmour, 70, is actually retiring from Ford for the second time. He rejoined the company in 2002 to become its vice chairman, and its chief financial officer through July 2003. Gilmour also worked at the automaker for more than three decades.

In addition, CFO Don Leclair, 52, was named an executive vice president of the company.

Shares fell 3 cents to $14.18.