US automotive manufacturer Ford Motor Company has replaced its CEO this week as the company seeks to reposition itself for the future.
Following a series of board meetings this month it was revealed the company’s preexisting CEO, Mark Fields, would step down.
Fields would be replaced by Jim Hackett, a high-level executive who had been on Ford’s board since 2013.
Prior to this Hackett had been CEO of furniture manufacturer Steelcase, and was responsible for successfully turning the company around.
“Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space,” said executive chairman Bill Ford.
“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.”
Hackett himself remarked that he hoped that his tenure as Ford CEO would be transformative for the company.
“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,” he said.
Ford’s future in focus
While Ford did not give an explicit reason for removing Fields, who had worked at the company for 28 years as CEO, speculation has focused on Ford’s flagging performance.
Over the 3 years that Fields was CEO, Ford’s overall stock price had dropped over 30%, in the fact of weak profits and increasing competition.
One area specifically that the company was seen to be lagging behind in was the development of long-range electric vehicles.
While Tesla, Toyota, and GM all made inroads into building mass-market battery-electric EV’s, Ford instead focussed on its more traditional product lines.
With this is mind, it would come as no surprise then to know that incoming CEO Hackett had previously been the head of Ford Smart Mobility over the course of the last year.
Finally, Ford has also stated that under Hackett it will seek to push forward with the deployment of new high-tech manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and advanced robotics.