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Ford Motor appoints Jim Hackett as CEO

Ford Motor appoints Jim Hackett as CEO

Ford Motor Co (F.N) abruptly named James Hackett as chief executive on Monday, responding to investors' growing unease about the US automaker's slumping stock price and its ability to counter threats from longtime rivals and Silicon Valley. He came to Ford past year to oversee the company's self-driving vehicle efforts.

Hackett will be joined by three new members, who will be working directly under him; Jim Farley will be executive VP and President of Global Markets, Joe Hinrichs will be Executive VP and President of Global Operations, and finally Marcy Klevorn will be working as executive VP and President of Mobility. So Ford's new leadership team may need to take careful but immediate steps to revive the company's profitability.

Over the same period of time, General Motors Co stocks jumped up about 8 per cent, while shares of Telsa rocketed up by almost 41 per cent. "They don't have a auto out there like a Tesla that is getting people excited and saying they need to buy it".

In comments Monday, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford praised the tenure and achievements of Fields but then pivoted and said the automaker needs to make decisions faster, break down its hierarchical structures and communicate its strategy more clearly to the public.

Shares of the second-largest US automaker rose 2.1 percent Monday, a relatively muted reaction given the 0.5 percent gain in the broad Standard & Poor's 500 index .SPX. Shares are down 37% since Fields succeeded Alan Mulally in 2014, and down 10% so far this year. Bill Ford said those two jobs showed Hackett can be successful in different environments. Ford's US sales are down this year in part because it doesn't have offerings in popular segments like subcompact SUVs and midsize pickups. The company expects to earn a pretax profit of $9 billion this year, down more than $1 billion from 2016.

Modernizing Ford's business by driving innovation, speeding up decision making and improving efficiency.

Ford also named leaders to three new roles under Hackett.

Bill Ford and his board needed an answer, and they needed it now: How was Mark Fields going to turn around Ford Motor Co.? Ford's stock price has declined 40 percent since Fields became CEO even though the company has been extremely profitable.

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"There is no smoking gun here", he said. Jim Farley, who led the company's European division back to profitability in recent years, will become vice president of global markets and will oversee Lincoln, sales and marketing. He was CEO of Steelcase from 1994 to 2014.

He said Mr Hackett, who previously ran office furniture giant Steelcase Inc, was a "visionary" and the right man to lead Ford as it expands into new areas.

At the annual meeting on May 11, Fields said Ford was capable of staying competitive in the current market for new vehicles, while also "keeping one foot in the future" of an industry heading toward autonomous, battery-powered cars.

The upheaval at Ford underlines pressure on all three major Detroit automakers to prove they can avoid losses as the US market begins to slow from last year's record sales. GM, by comparison, has fended off calls from well known hedge funds like David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital, which has pressed the company to split the company's stock.

The shake-up at Ford may bring scrutiny to its own plans in the region.

And of course, the automaker needs to deliver a self-driving vehicle, which Jim Hackett promised to do by 2021 soon after he joined Ford.

The 114-year-old automaker said Fields [pictured above] is retiring at age 56 after 28 years at the company.


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