News: Ford Appoints Self-Drive Chief as CEO

Ford Appoints Self-Drive Chief as CEO

After Ford's CEO Mark Fields' three-year tenure failed to keep up with the driverless industry and resulted in a 40% drop in shares since Field's took over in 2014, Ford is going in a new direction. Jim Hackett, who was previously chairman of Ford's self-driving division, has succeeded Fields as the company's new CEO.

Hackett already oversaw Ford's autonomous subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility, and the new position will capitalize on the company's expansion into the self-driving enterprise. Hackett is set to strengthen the company's operations and modernize the business.

In a press release sent to Driverless, Hackett is recognized as a "transformational business leader" who will be able to bring Ford to the forefront of tomorrow's driverless challenges. He is set to gain on the emerging market with new tools to leverage data, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and 3D printing.

We're moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future. Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He's a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.

— Bill Ford, in a statement to Driverless

Ford also named three leaders under Hackett. Jim Farley is appointed executive vice president and president of Global Markets, Joe Hinrichs is appointed executive vice president and president of Global Operations, and Marcy Klevorn is now appointed the new executive vice president and president of Ford's Smart Mobility, taking over Hackett's former role.

Mark Truby will serve as the new vice president of Communications and is also elected as a company officer, succeeding Ray Day. Paul Ballew will serve as vice president and chief data and analytics officer of Ford. Lastly, Hackett will report to Executive Chairman Bill Ford.

I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people's lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders. I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford's people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period.

— Jim Hackett, in a statement to Driverless

Under CEO Hackett, furniture manufacturer Steelcase, Inc. became the world's number one office furniture maker. He was also the interim athletic director at the University of Michigan, as well as the executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility since March 2016.

Fields elected to retire from Ford after a 28-year career with the company. The new appointments went into effect immediately.

Cover image via Ford

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