Ford Motor Co. announced that CEO Jim Hackett is retiring from the company.
The 65 year-old CEO Jim Hackett has “elected to retire from the company,” Ford said in a news release. Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley is taking the helm and assumes his new role as CEO on October 1. Hackett, a retired Steelcase CEO who had run Ford’s mobility efforts, will stay on as an adviser to Farley through March of 2021. No specific details were given on Farley’s plans as CEO, though more information will likely emerge in the coming weeks and months as the leadership transition begins.
“Under Hackett,” the company said in the statement, “Ford moved aggressively into the new era of smart vehicles and drove a deeper focus on customers’ wants and needs. At the same time, Ford improved the fitness of the base business — restructuring operations, invigorating the product portfolio and reducing bureaucracy.” Bill Ford, who has had a close relationship with Hackett since he started, said in the statement, “I am very grateful to Jim Hackett for all he has done to modernize Ford and prepare us to compete and win in the future (…) Our new product vision – led by the Mustang Mach-E, new F-150, and Bronco family – is taking shape. We now have compelling plans for electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as full vehicle connectivity. And we are becoming much more nimble, which was apparent when we quickly mobilized to make life-saving equipment at the outset of the pandemic.”
“Jim’s passion for great vehicles and his intense drive for results are well known, and I have also seen him develop into a transformational leader with the determination and foresight to help Ford thrive into the future,” said Bill Ford.
According to The Detroit Free Press, during the first three months of 2020, Ford reported a $2 billion earnings loss. A week ago, the company reported a $1.9 billion earnings loss for the second quarter, which was better than Wall Street predicted. But the company has sustained criticism for emerging from 2019 without healthier financials. Ford has been working on an $11 billion restructuring plan that Wall Street has failed to reward with higher stock prices and has struggled under the Hackett leadership with product launch problems involving the Ford Explorer, the Lincoln Aviator and the Police Interceptor, seeing a steady drop in stock value that predates the pandemic.
MarketWatch reported that just after the change was announced Tuesday morning, Ford shares rose 2.9% to $6.88 in early trading.