(AP) — Ford has named longtime executive Kumar Galhotra as its chief operating officer with the automaker in the midst of a potentially damaging strike.

Galhotra will lead Ford’s global industrial system, the company said Wednesday, where he will now oversee all global vehicle engineering and cycle planning, ICE and hybrid programs, supply chain management, and manufacturing of vehicles on behalf of all business units. He will report to CEO Jim Farley.

Galhotra, who joined Ford in 1988, most recently was in charge of Ford Blue, the company’s internal combustion engine business. Andrew Frick will succeed Galhotra in that role. Frick had been managing Ford Blue’s sales and distribution functions; trucks, SUVs and enthusiast vehicles; and operations in Mexico and Canada.

Prior to serving as president of Ford Blue, Galhotra was president of Ford Americas and the company’s International Markets Group, with responsibilities including profitability of those business units, according to Ford’s website. He’s also served as president, North America, leading all aspects of Ford’s business in the region. In addition, Galhotra has served as group vice president, Lincoln, and Ford’s chief marketing officer.

On Monday Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford called on autoworkers to come together to end a monthlong strike that he says could cost the company the ability to invest in the future.

In a rare speech coming during contract talks in the company’s hometown of Dearborn, Michigan, Ford said high labor costs could limit spending on developing new vehicles and investing in factories.

The company is near an impasse with the United Auto Workers union, which walked out in targeted strikes at all three Detroit automakers, which also include General Motors and Stellantis, on Sept. 15.

Last week 8,700 union members walked out at the largest and most profitable Ford plant in the world, the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.