Ford Motor Company today announced the departure of Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields, as part of a wider management shakeup. He will be replaced by James Hackett, the current head of its Smart Mobility unit, which focuses on autonomous vehicles and new mobility services.
Ford's decision comes amid pressure from shareholders to improve the company's stock price and market share. Since Fields took over as CEO from Alan Mulally in 2014, Ford's stock price has fallen 37 percent. Ford shares were up 2.3 percent in trading Monday before the market opened.
“We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,” Bill Ford said. “Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.”
“I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders,” James Hackett added. “I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period.”
According to the statement on Ford’s website, they will focus on three key areas:
- 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.
The company also thanked Mark Fields for his contribution to the company.
“Mark Fields has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for all he has accomplished in his many roles around the globe at Ford. His strong leadership was critical to our North American restructuring, our turnaround at the end of the last decade, and our record profits in the past two years."
Ford also made a number of other management changes. James Farley, president of Ford's Europe, Middle East and Africa business, will become executive VP for global markets. While Mike Truby will replace Ray Day as head of communications.
It’s been a busy few months for the company. Just last week, Ford announced it would cut its white-collar workforce by 10 percent in North America and Asia, as it continues to pump money into "emerging opportunities." In February, Ford announced it would invest $1 billion over the next five years in Argo AI, which will work to develop a new software platform for Ford’s fully autonomous vehicles coming in 2021.
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