Ford CEO Jim Hackett stepping down

Joanna Estrada
August 4, 2020

"Jim Farley matches an innate feel for cars and customers with great instincts for the future and the new technologies that are changing our industry", Ford said.

Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley will lead the automaker starting October 1 when current CEO Jim Hackett retires.

Mr Farley joined Ford 13 years ago - in 2007 - after 17 years in senior roles at Toyota and Lexus USA. He went to Europe in 2015 and helped turn around Ford's money-losing operations there through aggressive cost cuts and new product introductions.

The company has struggled in recent years and is in the midst of an $11 billion restructuring plan created to make it leaner and crank out new vehicles to replace what was an aging model lineup.

"I am very grateful to Jim Hackett for all he has done to modernise Ford and prepare us to compete and win in the future", said Bill Ford, the firm's executive chairman. "We talked about it and we did throw some names around", he said on a conference call Tuesday. That plan included $14 billion in cost reductions over five years, a target that Ford said it could reach by increasing the use of common parts across its portfolio, building fewer prototypes and reducing the number of possible option combinations customers could order.

As COO, Farley led the company's global markets and product development. He was in charge as Ford rolled out a revamped F-150 pickup, the new Bronco off-road SUV brand and the electric Mustang Mach-E SUV, the Associated Press reports.

Mr Farley began his automotive career with Toyota in 1990 but joined Ford in 2007. Ford said he would work with Farley, 58, over the next two months to ensure a smooth transition.

In a nod to the changing future of the auto industry, Farley left out traditional rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler when naming Ford's competitors. Instead, he identified them as retail giant Amazon, Chinese search engine Baidu, electric vehicle maker Tesla, iPhone maker Apple, and Japanese automaker Toyota.

Hackett, 65, took over for the ousted Mark Fields in May of 2017. Nearly immediately he began reviewing Ford's management structure and flattened the organization so it could move faster.

Mr Hackett will continue as a special advisor to Ford through March of 2021.

"My goal when I took on the CEO role was to prepare Ford to win in the future", Hackett said. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification; mobility solutions, including self-driving services; and connected services. "And we are becoming much more nimble, which was apparent when we quickly mobilized to make life-saving equipment at the outset of the pandemic".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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