Ford Hopes Former Furniture Executive Can Bring It Up To Tech Speed

Ford Motor has appointed a new Chief Executive for the automaker who has little experience in the auto industry or the technology market, both of which are putting pressure on the company.

According to a report, Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett has been on the board at the car company since 2013 and has run the Smart Mobility Group for the last year, but most of his career was in the furniture market when he was in charge of office furniture company Steelcase for twenty years. He was also the University of Michigan’s interim athletic director for two years, noted the report.  Hackett takes over for Mark Fields, Ford’s now ex-CEO who was at the helm for five years. Fields had come under attack from Wall Street for being too slow to embrace self-driving cars and other automotive technology advances. Under Field’s tenure the stock was down 40 percent, noted the report while GM’s shares are trading around where they were three years ago. Both the government relations and communications departments will now report to Ford Jr not the new CEO.

While the plan to replace Fields was finalized late last week on a conference call with the media Monday (May 22) Ford Jr. said talks about the move have been ongoing .“No decision like this is made hastily,” he said without going into much more detail, according to the report. The report noted the challenge for the new CEO and the company is integrating the culture of its mobility projects with the rest of the company. The mobility projects unit has been run more like a startup while the rest of the company operates more like a traditional automobile maker, noted the report. “The whole company needs to evolve and change. The change is not just going to happen just at [Ford Smart Mobility],” Ford said according to the report. “We don’t want competing groups, we don’t want one group to feel like they’re the cool group and the other group is the left-out group.”


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