Ford CEO Jim Hackett to retire due to backlog, automaker calls on Jim Farley

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Ford Motor CEO and Chairman Jim Hackett will unexpectedly retire amid an $ 11 billion restructuring plan that has failed to impress Wall Street and investors.Hackett, 65, will be replaced by his alleged heir, Jim Farley, chief executive of Ford, effective October 1. Farley, 58, will work with Hackett on a “smooth leadership transition over the next two months,” according to the company.

The change in leadership will make Farley the automaker’s fourth CEO since the Great Recession, which nearly bankrupted the automaker. Ford shares jumped nearly 3% in pre-market negotiations Tuesday after the announcement.

Since he started running Ford in May 2017, Hackett, former CEO of furniture company Steelcase, has done little to build trust in the Wall Street automaker – a reason his predecessor, Mark Fields, has been ousted after a term of less than three years. .

Jim Hackett, new general manager of Ford Motor Co., left, and Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., laugh during an event at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan on Tuesday, May 22, 2017.Jeff Kowalsky | Bloomberg | Getty Images

At Monday’s close, Ford shares were down 39.7% below Hackett at $ 6.69. The stock, which has a market value of $ 26.1 billion, is down 28% in 2020.

Hackett had previously expressed no interest in retiring. In February, in the midst of a management reshuffle, he said, “I plan to stay in this position.” He cited a close relationship with Farley that would “realize the value” the company promised.

Hackett has been criticized for its transparency and leadership and for executing its multi-year restructuring plan which aimed to better position the automaker for all-electric and autonomous vehicles.

He will continue as the company’s special advisor until March 2021, according to Ford.

“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,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford, in a statement.

The former furniture executive won favor with Ford, the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, because of his reputation in Silicon Valley and his motivational skills.

Hackett chose Farley over Joe Hinrichs, a longtime Ford executive who left the automaker amid a management restructuring, as his alleged heir in February.

Farley joined Ford in 2007 as Global Head of Marketing and Sales. He has since held a variety of positions including head of the automaker’s luxury brand Lincoln and several international operations such as Europe and South America.

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