The head of Ford's Smart Mobility LLC subsidiary replaces Fields.Ford president and CEO Mark Fields has retired. His replacement is Jim Hackett, the former head of Ford Smart Mobility.Sources close to the company say Fields was ousted. Bill Ford, the Blue Oval's executive chairman, and other members of the board allegedly lost confidence in his leadership.
Ford is profitable -- the company is expected to make $9 billion this year -- but it's losing market share in the United States and it recently announced massive layoffs. To complicate the situation, investors don't seem convinced by the company's sizable investment in electric powertrains, automated driving technology, and ride-sharing services. Stock price has dropped by about 37 percent since 56-year old Fields took over in 2014.
Hackett is seen as the right executive to steer the Blue Oval towards its goal of building battery-powered cars that drive themselves. A statement published by Ford explains he will also need to sharpen operational execution by making sure new models get to the market in a timely manner, and by addressing under-performing parts of the business.
Additionally, Hackett will need to modernize Ford by leveraging the benefits of new technologies such as 3D-printing, big data, and artificial intelligence. Finally, he will need to ensure the company is ready to meet the future challenges, including shifting consumer tastes and tight emissions regulations expected to come into effect in the coming years.
Hacket will work hand-in-hand with Bill Ford and three executives promoted to newly-created positions. Jim Farley will oversee global markets, and run the under-performing Lincoln division. Joe Hinrichs will be in charge of global operations, and Marcy Klevorn will replace Hackett at the head of Ford Smart Mobility.