In an effort to respond to investors’ growing unease about the U.S. automaker’s stock price and prospects, Ford Motor Company announced today that James Hackett, who heads its unit developing self-driving cars, will be the company’s new chief executive officer going forward.
As the company makes an effort to speed up decision-making and improve operations, the former CEO of Steelcase, Inc. will replace former CEO Mark Fields, who served fewer than three years at the head of this once automotive giant. During Field’s three-year tenure, Ford’s stock dropped a whopping 40 percent, which Executive Chairman Bill Ford has attributed to a lack of innovation and value.
“We have to modernize the business,” and move “decisively to address underperforming areas,” said Ford.
Hackett, who is also a former football player at the University of Michigan and interim athletic director, joined Ford in 2016 to head up its smart mobility operations and, according to Ford, has made significant progress.
“I am actually pleased with the progress we are making in developing self-driving technology, but there is always more to do and speed is important,” said Ford.
According to a press release, Hackett, along with Bill Ford, plans to focus on three things, which include: sharpening operational execution, modernizing Ford’s business and transforming the company to meet future challenges.
Ford has also named three of its leaders to new roles under Hackett. Jim Farley has been appointed executive vice president and president, Ford Global Markets; Joe Hinrichs is now executive vice president and president, Ford Global Operations; and Marcy Klevorn has been appointed executive vice president and president, Ford Mobility.
These three appointments will be effective June 1.