Beset by falling stock prices and forced to cut its white-collar workforce by 10 percent in North America and Asia, Ford Motor Co. announced Monday that its President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields is retiring and will be replaced by Jim Hackett. Fields was with the automaker for the past nearly 30 years. Hackett takes over on Monday.
Involved in the oversight of Ford’s work with autonomous vehicles, Hackett has been the company’s chairman of Ford Smart Mobility since March 2016, after having served three years on the company’s board of directors. Prior to joining Ford, he was chief executive of Steelcase, an office furniture company.
“This is a time of unprecedented change,” said Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “And time of great change, in my mind, requires a transformational leader. And thankfully we have that in Jim.”
In its efforts to re-energize and modernize its business, Ford will reportedly focus on embracing emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, 3-D printing and robotics.
“We need to speed up our decision making,” he said. “We need to invest our capital where we can create value. … And importantly, also, we have to move decisively to address underperforming areas.”
Ford added, “I’ve never felt more confident in our future.”
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