Ford ‘to oust CEO’ in management shake-up | CAR Magazine

Official: Ford replaces CEO Mark Fields with autonomous guru Jim Hackett

Published: 22 May 2017 Updated: 22 May 2017

► Ford chief Mark Fields ousted
► New CEO is James Hackett
► Autonomous car chief takes over

Ford is undergoing substantial regime change, as CEO Mark Fields is replaced by the company’s autonomous car chief. He resigned following a board meeting on Friday.

The Blue Oval is shaking up its management team in an effort to accelerate the pace of change amid a slump in its share price.

We interview Mark Fields: the CAR interview

Who is replacing Mark Fields as CEO of Ford?

Dearborn confirmed on Monday 22 May that Jim Hackett, the head of Ford’s Smart Mobility arm, will take over the reins as CEO and president of the Ford Motor Company with immediate effect. He has been focusing on plans for autonomous cars (Ford’s is planned for 2021) and the Blue Oval’s place in the brave new automotive landscape – skills which will equip him well for the big job.

Hackett said he had three main goals for Ford’s 202,000 employees worldwide:

  • Sharpening operational execution
  • Modernising Ford’s current business
  • Transforming the company to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges

Mark Fields: Ford's ex-CEO

Fields, 56 (above), took over as CEO of the Ford Motor Company in July 2014, replacing Alan Mullally; the company’s share price has dropped around 40% in that time – last month Ford’s market capitalisation was overtaken by Tesla’s, in a symbolic shift in industrial might. 

He spent 28 years working at the Blue Oval and executive chairman Bill Ford called it ‘a tremendous career.’ Fields is retiring from the company with immediate effect.

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Who is James Hackett and what does he do at Ford?

The 62-year-old (below) used to be the CEO of office furniture company Steelcase, where he worked for 25 years. He is credited with turning it around to become the world’s biggest office supplier by imagining how the world of work would change.

Jim Hackett at Ford

He served on Ford’s board from 2013-16, and last year joined Ford’s Smart Mobility division, which is working to develop Ford’s driverless car strategy and ride-sharing vision for the fast-changing world of tomorrow.

His expertise in machine learning, 3D printing and robotics will stand him in good stead, according to chairman Bill Ford. He will speed up decision-making to make Ford more agile, he told reporters and analysts.

‘We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,’ said Ford. ‘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.’

Hackett said he would be announcing further management changes later this week.

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By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words