Ford appoints 'true visionary' Jim Hackett as president and CEO

Gladys Abbott
June 5, 2017

Photo of Jim Hackett courtesy of Ford. Ford views Hackett as a "transformational business leader" as it seeks to boost profit amid investor pressure.

Hackett, 62, is replacing Mark Fields, a 28-year Ford veteran that took office as CEO in mid-2014.

Marcy Klevorn, named the group vice president of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer in January of this year, becomes the executive vice president and president of Mobility, where she will oversee Ford Smart Mobility LLC; Information Technology; and Global Data, Insight, and Analytics.

Until the announcement, Hackett was the newly appointed chairman of the auto maker's autonomous division that was formed in March 2016.

Hackett has gone from building the future in office furniture at Steelcase to hiring Jim Harbaugh at the University of MI to leading Ford Smart Mobility.

Hackett, who joined Ford's board in 2013 and has led Ford's smart mobility unit since a year ago, is the former CEO of office furniture maker Steelcase.

According to Ford's website, Fields' successor is Jim Hackett, who has overseen Ford's efforts on autonomous vehicles as chairman of Ford Smart Mobility.

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All three appointments are effective June 1.

Ford is replacing its CEO amid questions about its current performance and future strategy.

Bill Ford said he and Hackett will work together to transform the company to "meet future challenges, ensuring the company has the right culture, talent, strategic processes and nimbleness to succeed as society's needs and consumer behavior change over time".

"Fields' strong leadership was critical to the company's North American restructuring, turnaround at the end of the last decade, and record profits in both 2015 and 2016".

Ford also announced several other changes to its senior management. Jim Farley is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Markets while Joe Hinrichs elevated as executive vice president and president, Global Operations.

"We need speed (in) decision making", Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr., said in a Wall Street Journal interview Monday.

Before joining FoMoCo, Mr. Hackett was the interim Athletic Director at the University of MI, and he also led the turnaround of Steelcase Inc. Truby has previously led Ford's Communications teams in Europe, the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa. That was the company's best sales result in 10 years.

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