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Ford CEO Mark Fields Out; Jim Hackett Takes Over

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Ford Motor Co. ousted CEO Mark Field as a part of a major management shakeup, as the Detroit automaker leans in a new direction to transform mobility. Jim Hackett, who oversees the Ford Smart Mobility Subsidiary will take the reins from Field as Ford CEO. The world’s second largest automaker made the announcement on Monday morning – this along with a series of management changes.

Other Ford executives will assume larger roles, including Joseph Hinrichs, head of Ford North American, James Farley, president of Ford’s Europe, Middle East and Africa Business, Raj Nair, the global technology and product development director; and Mark LaNeve, head of sales, service and marketing.

Shakeup Beset With Impatient Shareholders

The management shakeup is a result of Chairman Bill Ford’s lack of confidence in Fields’ leadership. In mid-2014, Ford and the rest of the board replaced Alan Mulally with Fields expecting him to rally employees around a common goal.

Fields became Ford CEO on Mulally’s recommendation, has worked his way through a number of executive positions; notably serving as the head of Mazda when Ford held a controlling stake in the carmaker. The industry veteran also served as the head of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, as well as its European operations.

Since Fields took over as Ford CEO three years ago, the auto industry leader’s stock is down by more than 40 percent. Its sales have been dwindling sharply, in fact even more rapidly than the overall decline of the U.S new vehicle market. During the first quarter, its earnings fell by 37 percent to $1.6 billion.

Last week, Ford Motor Co. announced that is reducing 10 percent of its workforce to squeeze profits and raise its stock. For quite some time now, the Detroit automaker has been under immense pressure to buoy its lagging stock price. Back in 2014, when Mark Field took over as CEO, he was caught playing pendulum between pleasing a board pressurizing him to boost fading profits while pacifying President Donald Trump, who is relentlessly pushing U.S. automaker to bring back the manufacturing jobs.

The only way Ford can fortify its stock price and maintain profits is by turning towards growing electrification, autonomy, and mobility. Although, when Fields announced a tie-up with Starbucks and Amazon for the so-called connected car systems like Sync 3, critics faulted his moves saying it did not add much utility vehicles to the current line-up. Moreover, investors felt increasingly skeptical in recent months as Fields failed to take the necessary steps to rebuild the Lincoln Motor Co. brand.

Former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett joined the Ford Motor Co board last year. As Ford CEO Jim Hackett faces grave challenges. Perhaps, the most difficult job will be setting the automaker up to remain profitable as it continues to lose momentum amid the slow growth in the auto industry.

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