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Jim Vella to Retire as Ford Fund President

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Jim Vella to retire as Ford Fund President effective Dec. 31
Jim Vella will retire as Ford Fund president on Dec. 31
Photo: Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company Fund President Jim Vella has announced plans to retire at the end of 2019. The 63-year-old, who has spent the last 31 years with Ford, will be succeeded by Mary Culler. Culler is the current chief of staff for Ford’s Office of the Executive Chairman and the director of development over the Michigan Central Station revitalization project.

Vella’s storied career with Ford began in 1988 as a news producer. In the three-plus decades since, he’s filled roles up to and including chief of staff for Bill Ford and VP of Corporate Public Affairs. He took on the role of Ford Fund in 2006 and has spearheaded global philanthropic initiatives like Ford Driving Skills for Life. His retirement is effective Dec. 31.

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“Whether it was a plant crisis or internal issue, Jim has been a trusted partner and advisor through an extraordinary era at Ford,” said Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman. “His devotion to helping others and commitment to expanding Ford’s role in the community have made us a leader in corporate philanthropy around the world.”

Mary Culler Ford Fund President
Mary Culler takes over for Jim Vella on Jan. 1, 2020

Culler just been with Ford for 19 years, filling roles including director of Ford U.S. State and Local Government Relations. Prior to joining the automaker, she served as the manager of Chicago’s Industrial Development Program under Mayor Richard M. Daley. Her experience also includes key roles with the EPA, including deputy director of the National Brownfields program, and a stint working for the Chair of the Energy and Natural Resource Committee.

Ford Fund launched in 1949 and has over the course of 70 years invested more than $2 billion into important programs and initiatives.

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