Ford's new CEO promises a fit _ but fun _ company

28 May, 2017, 01:54 | Author: Rachel Hardy

Ford Motor Co. replaced Mark Fields as its CEO following a three-year tenure Monday. "He's not just a futurist". Ford's $44 billion market value is below electric vehicle pioneer Tesla Inc's (TSLA.O) $51 billion.

Ford states Fields has chosen to retire after a 28-year career with the company.

Ford, once the most financially secure of the "Big Three" Detroit automakers, and the only one not to take USA government money in the US auto industry bailout a decade ago, reported record profit in 2015, but now finds itself under pressure on all sides as overall US auto sales fall.

Hackett is known as a customer-minded turnaround artist who thinks outside the box.

"Lots of people can manufacture well, but manufacturing the same old products will get you the same old results", Cook said. Hackett said the two have plans to go to a MI football game.

Also Jim Farley, who is head of Ford of Europe, broadens his obligations to oversee worldwide sales and marketing in addition to Lincoln.

What he meant: Ford has more than 200,000 employees around the world. High gasoline prices were pushing Americans away from SUVs and trucks and into low-profit small vehicles. Fields opened an office in Silicon Valley to hire talented young researchers and scout out promising startups. The company shocks the Detroit auto show with its new GT supercar. The 36 percent decline in Ford shares since he replaced Alan Mulally almost three years ago was the mathematical manifestation of investors' discontent in his stewardship.

The jobs with Steelcase and Ford are not quite as different as size would suggest, Hackett said Monday.

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Ford is working on an electric sports utility vehicle with 300 miles of range, but it is not due out until 2020.

And the company can not pivot quickly. It's clear that Ford wants decisions to be made faster and that he wants the company to get a boost that perhaps only fresh blood can bring. And the much-anticipated new Bronco SUV won't be out until 2020. The unit also bought Israeli company SAIPS to advance its machine learning algorithms for self-driving cars.

So when Fields was removed it was not about just revenue, but about Ford not moving fast enough to develop the cars of the future, and fostering innovation.

Fiat Chrysler is supplying Waymo, the self-driving company born out of Google's parent company, with over 500 Pacifica minivans for Waymo's driverless test fleet and reportedly collaborating on a robot taxi service. Some 35 percent of them also voted to scrap the dual-class share structure that gives the descendants of Henry Ford two-fifths of the vote with less than 2 percent of the stock. Mulally flew home to his wife in Seattle most weekends, and Fields constantly went back and forth to his family's home in Florida. But Fields, a Harvard MBA from New Jersey, had more trouble relating to and inspiring the Ford rank and file.

"We need to speed up our decision-making, we need to invest our capital where we can create value, and we have to move decisively to address underperforming areas", Bill Ford told reporters during a press conference Monday.

The challenges he faces at Ford are far greater. Ford has also seen profits and market share decrease, a slide that will be hard to reverse as the United States vehicle market cools down, triggering Ford to cut 1,400 salaried jobs.

During Fields' three-year tenure - a period when Ford's shares dropped 40 percent - he came under fire from investors and the company's board for failing to expand the company's core auto business and for lagging in developing the high-tech cars of the future.

January 2016: Ford earns a record pretax profit of $10.8 billion for 2015.


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