Ford of Europe has announced that Mark Deans is to retire from his role as senior manager of motorsport at the end of the month, ending an 18-month long stint in the role.

Deans, who took up the post in November 2007, has elected to retire from the company to pursue personal projects, and will be replaced by Gerard Quinn, who will work alongside Malcolm Wilson on Ford's WRC programme.

"Mark has been a great asset to the Ford Motorsport management team over the last 18 months," Ingvar Sviggum, Ford of Europe's Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Service, said. "He has helped to keep our WRC activity running through the industry crisis, and delivered an impressive one-two victory with the team in the most recent rally in Sardinia. We're grateful for Mark's commitment and dedication to the company during his 29-year career with Ford, and we wish him and his family all the very best for the future."

In his new role, Quinn will be the focal point through which Ford will continue to support M-Sport and drive future success for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, most obviously via close ties with the company's global Product Development and engineering disciplines.

Quinn will also be responsible for a small team of marketing professionals and product development engineers to develop further the company's motorsport strategy in Europe. He will work closely with the Communications and Public Affairs team, as well as other key Ford of Europe staffs.

Quinn was previously responsible for the commercial and contractual aspects of Ford of Europe's motorsport strategy, including the relationship with M-Sport. He also had a significant involvement in Ford of Europe's performance vehicle business, notably the development programme for the new Ford Focus RS.

"We're very pleased to have Gerard Quinn leading our Motorsport programmes in Europe," Sviggum added. "He has a wealth of experience inside Ford having worked his way along the ladder of opportunity to become a valued member of the management team. He knows Malcolm Wilson and the M-Sport team well, and his understanding of both the motorsport business and our corporate strategy is precisely what we need during this difficult economic period."