Ford appoints new CEO

Posted on 14 Jun 2017 and read 746 times
Ford appoints new CEOFord’s chief executive has been ‘removed’ after less than three years in the job.

Mark Fields handed over to Jim Hackett, then head of the automotive company’s ‘smart’ and driverless car division, on 22 May.

Mr Hackett joined the company’s board four years ago and took on the ‘smart’ mobility job a year later with a remit of looking at how the company will respond to developments such as self-driving cars, shared ownership of vehicles and Internet-connected cars.

Before that, Mr Hackett had no experience in the motor industry. He had a 25-year career with US office-furniture firm Steelcase, overseeing the turn-round of the business and making it the world’s largest player in the sector.

The appointment is said to be the result of investor concern about a lack of direction, and an increasing feeling that Ford was slow in pursuing the self-driving and electric car market. Shares in Ford had fallen a third since Mr Fields took over from Alan Mulally in 2014.

Bill Ford, the company’s chairman and great-grandson of Henry Ford, said: “Mark and I got together recently and decided it was the right time for him to resign,” adding that “no decision like this is made hastily”.

The chairman paid a tribute to the former chief executive, saying that he “did great things at Ford, created building blocks for the future and put us in a great position financially to chart our future”.

He also praised Mr Hackett for his “proven track record” of being able to manage change, adding that this was the reason behind the appointment.

He said: “A time of unprecedented change for the industry is here now. Jim is a proven transformational leader and a visionary thinker. He’s not just a futurist, he is a great operating executive able to seamlessly deliver a future that has been envisioned.”

George Galliers, car-industry analyst at Evercore ISI, the global independent investment banking advisory group, said that the new chief executive must communicate his strategy quickly.

He added: “Investors need to know his plans. Given his last position, he should be able to let them know where the company is under- or over-invested, ahead or behind the competition and what investments need to be made to ensure Ford remains competitive in the future.”

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