Ford’s CEO is replaced by head of smart mobility division
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Ford Motor Company today announced the retirement of CEO Mark Fields, who spent less than 3 years in the position and 28 years overall at the company.
Fields will be replaced by Jim Hackett, who joined Ford's board in 2013 and, until yesterday, was head of the company’s Smart Mobility unit, a position he took over in March of last year.
The move seeks to turn Ford into a company capable of taking on Tesla and the coming revolution in the smart driving industry.
Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said he wanted Hackett to speed up decision-making and attack costs. "The clock speed at which our competitors are working (…) requires us to make decisions at a faster pace," Ford said at a webcasted press conference.
The month Fields took over, Ford shares closed at US$ 17.41. The company’s stock prices have declined almost 40% since then. But also under Fields, Ford achieved a record pretax profit of US$ 10.8 billion in 2015 as SUV and truck sales soared in the U.S. market.
Last January, Ford scrapped plans for a Mexican car factory and announced instead plans to add 700 jobs in Michigan, a move praised by President Donald Trump.
Fields, who made several trips to the White House this year, said Ford would have made the decision regardless of who was president.
Jim Hackett, 62, has a long track record of innovation and business success as CEO of Steelcase, one of the world's largest office furniture companies. He is credited with transforming the company, in part by predicting the shift away from cubicles and into open office plans. But he first had to cut thousands of jobs and moved furniture production from the U.S. to Mexico to stem massive losses at the company.
Reporting to Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Hackett will lead Ford’s worldwide operations and 202,000 employees globally, together they will focus on three priorities:
Sharpening operational execution across the global business to further enhance quality, go-to-market strategy; product launch, while decisively addressing underperforming parts of the business.
Modernizing Ford’s business, using new tools and techniques to unleash innovation, speed decision making and improve efficiency. This includes increasingly leveraging big data, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, 3D printing and more.
Transforming the company to meet future challenges, ensuring the company has the right culture, talent, strategic processes and nimbleness to succeed as society’s needs and consumer behavior change over time.