Ford replaces CEO Mark Fields in push to transform business

Ford replaces CEO Mark Fields in push to transform business

Ford replaces CEO Mark Fields in push to transform business

While it appeared that investors may have been pitting traditional Ford auto development against its high-tech autonomous future, the choice of Hackett conveys that mobility remains a priority at the company. However, an official announcement hasn't been made yet.

- Ford's board of directors and Chairman Bill Ford Jr. had been unhappy with the company's performance, and sought more reassurance that investments in self-driving cars, electric vehicles and ride services would pay off. Hackett has led Ford's mobility unit since past year.

Hackett, 62, revived the fortunes of office furniture maker Steelcase as CEO from 1994 to 2014 and his promotion indicates Ford is looking to seize on that expertise as consumer demands change. In this role, Hinrichs will oversee Ford's global Product Development; Manufacturing and Labor Affairs; Quality; Purchasing; and Sustainability, Environmental and Safety Engineering; Hinrichs has been serving as Ford executive vice president and president, The Americas, since December 2012. Now, according to sources, Hackett will be named President and CEO, ending Fields three-year reign, during which the price of Ford shares has slipped roughly 40 percent.

Mr. Hackett is known for clear communication and taking bold action, and recently made big waves in the Detroit area when as interim athletic director for the University of MI he famously recruited NFL coach Jim Harbaugh to lead Michigan's football program. A Ford spokeswoman declined to comment on the move-Messrs.

Ford is also in the midst of a drastic $3 billion cost-cutting scheme, which will result in its North American and Asian work forces being slashed by 10 per cent. At the same time, that mobility strategy has often felt haphazard and ineffective; it's safe to say FordPass hasn't exactly transformed the way we get around. Analysts and investors have routinely questioned the company's ability to weather the next industry downturn-criticism has increased as US auto sales plateau and Ford's market share slides. Now, U.S. auto sales are slipping, and Ford's profit margins are trailing those of larger rival General Motors Co. General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt electric auto, with 238 miles of range, went on sale a year ago; Ford is working on an electric SUV with 300 miles of range, but it's not due out until 2020.

Fields became CEO in 2014 after Alan Mulally led the company through the Great Recession.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford, left, greets President and Chief Executive Mark Fields at the North American International Auto show, January 9, 2017, in Detroit. James Farley, who runs Ford's European unit, has been appointed to oversee worldwide sales and marketing.

Among his bets on technology is a plan to invest $1 billion over the next five years in tech startup Argo AI.

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