Ford Motor’s new CEO Jim Farley is shaking up the company’s top ranks and restructuring operations as the automaker struggles to bolster shareholder confidence and stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market.
Farley, who succeeds Jim Hackett, is streamlining operations and refocusing on key growth areas like autonomous and electric technologies as well as commercial vehicles. The changes come at a pivotal time for Ford. For years, the company has failed to gain Wall Street’s confidence in its business operations and labored to execute an $11 billion turnaround plan announced by Hackett in 2018.
Farley hopes to get Ford back into Wall Street’s good graces, something Hackett and Fields were unable to accomplish. It’s something only former Boeing executive Alan Mulally, who led the Ford through the Great Recession without bankruptcy, has been able to do in recent history.
“During the past three years, under Jim Hackett’s leadership, we have made meaningful progress and opened the door to becoming a vibrant, profitably growing company,” Farley, who became CEO effective Thursday, said in a statement. “Now it’s time to charge through that door.”
The goal, according to the company, is to “move with urgency to turn around its automotive operations – improving quality, reducing costs and accelerating the restructuring of underperforming businesses.”
That will include leveraging its critically important and $42 billion F-Series pickup franchise to finance investments in emerging technologies. Ford is viewed by many as being behind others, particularly General Motors, in its plans for autonomous and electrified vehicles as well as global cost restructuring.
Farley, who most recently served as chief operating officer, announced the changes during a virtual town hall meeting Thursday with the company’s global team.
Ex-Amazon exec out as CFO
CFO Tim Stone, a former Amazon executive who was a high-profile hire for Hackett, is leaving the company after just 18 months, the company announced.
Stone, 53, is going to artificial-intelligence software company ASAPP as chief operating officer and chief financial officer, Ford said.
He’ll be succeeded by John Lawler, 54, who most recently served as CEO of Ford’s autonomous vehicles unit and vice president of mobility partnerships. He spent much of his 30 years at Ford in finance leadership and general management.