CEO ejection hardly gets Ford back in the race

Terrell Bush
May 22, 2017

The head of Ford's mobility unit, Jim Hackett, is reportedly taking over as chief executive.

CEO Mark Fields is retiring at age 56 after 28 years at the company, says this person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement hasn't been made.

Ford announced plans last month to cut costs by $3 billion a year to free up money for that new product development.

According to several reports, the move is due to the automaker's recent disappointing profits and stock price, which has dropped almost 40 percent since Fields took over in 2014. Hackett is now chairman of Ford Smart Mobility, a Ford Unit started to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services, according the Ford website.

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. Marcy Klevorn, Ford's chief technical officer, will replace Hackett as the head of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, Ford's future mobility unit.

Ford will also replace group vice president of communications, Ray Day, with Mark Truby, vice president of communications for Ford's Asia-Pacific operations, Forbes said.

During the recent annual meeting, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford that he and the board are frustrated by the stock decline.

Since his appointment in July 2014 Fields has been accused of, among other things, having been too slow to respond to the now-apparent shift toward electric and autonomous vehicles across the industry.

"Ford Smart Mobility and expanding into mobility services are significant growth opportunities", Fields said in a release. Ford is also well behind rivals in self-driving vehicle tech, having launched its "mobility" subsidiary just over a year ago.

Mark Fields, president and chief executive of Ford Motor Company, with the 2017 Ford Fusion at the North American International Auto Show. At the time, Ford said the new subsidiary will pursue merging opportunities in mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and accompanying data and analytics.

But investors anxious about Ford's sliding USA market share and product decisions. It closed Friday at $10.87 per share, and pre-open trading on May 22 was at $11.11 right after the news about Fields and Hackett.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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