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Old 22nd May 2017, 18:30   #1
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Default Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

According to multiple media sources, Ford, in a surprising move, is believed to have fired its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - Mark Fields. He will be replaced by James Hackett, who is currently serving as the head of the Ford Smart Mobility LLC subsidiary. An official announcement about the said managerial shake-up is expected to be made later today.

The decision to replace Mark Fields was reportedly taken after the board of directors and investors of the American automaker expressed concern over the company's falling share prices and reducing profit percentage. Reports suggest that during Mark Fields' three year long tenure as the Ford CEO, the company's shares dropped by around 40 percent. He also faced sharp criticism for Ford's constantly deteriorating financial results during the company's annual shareholders' meeting earlier this month.

Sources closer to the company have further indicated that Ford's Chairman - Bill Ford Jr. has also been unhappy with Fields' inability to take critical decisions about the company's future strategy. The top-level management at Ford has reportedly held Mark Fields responsible for the company's slow efforts in developing high-tech cars for the future.

James Hackett (62), who is being touted as Fields' replacement, has been serving as the head of Ford's smart mobility subsidiary since March 2016. Prior to this role, he has also been a Ford director for three years. He was earlier designated as the chief executive of Steelcase, an office furniture company. Hackett was a part of Steelcase for 30 years, and is said to have been responsible for revolutionizing the company's product portfolio and converting its brand image from a conventional office furniture manufacturer to a designer of unconventional and modern workspaces that promoted open working environment.

Ford is expecting a pre-tax profit of US$ 9 billion this year. However, the automaker has been reporting a drop in sales and revenue from the past couple of years. This is despite the fact that the company's flagship F-Series pickup truck is bringing in hefty profits. However, the automaker has recorded a 25 percent drop in car sales this year. Moreover, the profit margin on some of its best-selling cars is alarmingly low, which is negatively affecting the company's overall profitability.

In addition to Mark Fields' reported departure, the company is also making some other changes lower down the hierarchy. Joseph R. Hinrichs, who is currently the head of Ford’s American division, will become executive vice-president for global operations. James D. Farley Jr. - head of Ford’s European unit, will oversee worldwide sales & marketing. Mark Truby, head of Ford's marketing teams in Asia and Europe, will now lead global communications. Marcy Klevorn, Ford's Chief Technical Officer (CTO) will get additional charge as chief of mobility initiatives, replacing James Hackett.

Source: New York Times

Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place-markfieldsand2017fordfusion.jpg
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Old 22nd May 2017, 19:46   #2
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Default re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

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Originally Posted by dZired View Post
According to multiple media sources, Ford, in a surprising move, is believed to have fired its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - Mark Fields. He will be replaced by James Hackett, who is currently serving as the head of the Ford Smart Mobility LLC subsidiary.
Ford has confirmed this news. I don't know the total backstory apart from just the sinking share prices. Ford has been producing good cars and has also made some big strides in technology (aluminum trucks, the new Ford GT, research and development on autonomous tech and fully electric cars). Maybe the board grew impatient, just wanted short term profits and shareholder value. We'd see this unravel a bit more over the next few days.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 20:46   #3
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Default re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

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Originally Posted by vineethvazhayil View Post
Ford has confirmed this news. I don't know the total backstory apart from just the sinking share prices. Ford has been producing good cars and has also made some big strides in technology (aluminum trucks, the new Ford GT, research and development on autonomous tech and fully electric cars). Maybe the board grew impatient, just wanted short term profits and shareholder value. We'd see this unravel a bit more over the next few days.
Not really, Ford- even after making a ton of investment, does not have a fully electric car. The Ford Hybrids are kind of Meh.

Their bread and butter cars are not that great. There are issues with the Focus DCT. The fusion and the Taurus are not selling well either.

This shows the case where having an enthusiastic lineup , not saving the brand.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 20:52   #4
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Default re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

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Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
Not really, Ford- even after making a ton of investment, does not have a fully electric car. The Ford Hybrids are kind of Meh.

Their bread and butter cars are not that great. There are issues with the Focus DCT. The fusion and the Taurus are not selling well either.

This shows the case where having an enthusiastic lineup , not saving the brand.
If you are talking sedans - then there is a seismic shift in the market towards CUVs - every sedan segment has lost market share to CUVs. It is not like Ford had 3 years of declining sales. EV - yeah it's only GM and Tesla that have sensible EVs. Everyone else is still doing various stages of development. Their bread and butter car really is the F150 which has always always done well.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 00:28   #5
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Default re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

Here is an article.

http://jalopnik.com/why-mark-fields-...red-1795431562

again, Ford did not have any nice or improved CUV's since Fields's was CEO. While GM/ Buick is churning out CUV models year after year.

THey also missed out on the high Midsize truck demand which GM took care with the Colorado/ Canyon twins.

I can see that he lacked vision.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 10:58   #6
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

Very shocking news & not one I agree with! Mark Fields was pretty much a Ford lifer, having spent almost 3 decades with the company. And boy, has he delivered the goods. I believe he was looking at the CEO's spot in 2006, but was too young then and was told by Bill Ford that his time will come later. He played a willing no.2 to Alan Mulally. When Mulally retired, he said 'there's nothing left to teach Fields'.

'Mobility' might be the tomorrow, but conventional cars are the today. It's weird to fire your CEO when he just delivered one of the most profitable years in history (2016 profits were $10 - 11 billion). Sure, there's no clear path to future tech, but NO ONE knows where the future of the auto industry lies - car sharing vs autonomous driving vs electric cars vs hydrogen fuel cell etc. All other manufacturers are equally confused, including Toyota.

If this is how Ford wanted to let go of him, they shouldn't have made him the boss in the first place. And how many times does Ford need an outsider anyway? Once every decade ? With due respect to Hackett, I think Ford's future is even more confusing with him at the helm of affairs. If Hackett is so smart in the 'mobility' space, he should have been given more power in that vertical (but not as overall CEO).

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Originally Posted by vineethvazhayil View Post
just wanted short term profits and shareholder value
Unfortunate, but true. Too much emphasis on the share price which in itself is ridiculous. How can the share price fall so steeply despite record profits? You can't hire & fire based on Wall Street which has ranked a loss-making niche manufacturer like Tesla as the most valuable auto company in the world!

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Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
Not really, Ford- even after making a ton of investment, does not have a fully electric car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
again, Ford did not have any nice or improved CUV's since Fields's was CEO.
You should blame Alan Mulally for that. Mark Fields - in just 2.5 years - hasn't seen a car from idea to production. Lead times for car development are far longer than that.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd May 2017 at 12:48.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 11:44   #7
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

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History repeats - departure echoes Nasser's past.

The rise and fall of mercurial CEO Jacques Nasser, who led the automaker from 1999 to 2001, draws parallels between the state of Ford then and now striking.

The departures of Nasser and Fields aren’t exactly the same, but the execs’ goals had some common threads.

The hard-charging, deal-making Nasser -- who wanted to leverage Ford’s $20 billion cash pile driven by SUV profits into acquisitions -- paid the price for his ambitions.

Fields, like Nasser, wanted to take Ford beyond a traditional manufacturer of vehicles. He invested billions in autonomous-car technology and ride-sharing experiments.

However, he failed to win over Wall Street. Ford stock - in similar fashion to the Nasser days - fell nearly 40 percent during his time as CEO. Meanwhile, investors smitten with Tesla drove its market cap past Ford’s this year despite its massive cash burn and fledgling business model. In addition, the automaker fell short of its quality goals in 2016, meaning executives took a hit.
Link

Last edited by Rehaan : 23rd May 2017 at 13:47. Reason: Please put the copy-pasted text in a quote box.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 20:29   #8
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

It's the short-sighted American investors who're responsible for getting rid of Mark Fields. The same short-sighted American investors are also responsible for (practically) forcing GM's CEO Mary Barra into adopting a "profits before all else" strategy, leading to GM pulling out from several markets (including India).

Ford, GM and other "old economy" American companies are severely handicapped by short-sighted American investors (who may be a boon for "new economy" companies).

More than a century old automobile companies like Ford & GM are not little tech startups. They'll take some time to adapt to a changing environment. Moreover, they're also prone to cyclical fluctuations in the overall economy.

No wonder a CEO like Mary Barra is forced to operate within the short-sighted "vision" of American investors. One cannot blame her alone for GM's strategy of pulling out of one market after another.

This kind of short-sighted Wall Street "vision" puts Ford & GM (as Chrysler is no longer independent) at a competitive disadvantage when compared to automobile companies from other parts of the world, especially Asia. Japanese, South Korean and even European companies aren't constrained by such short-sighted investors.

Mr. Fields' replacement as CEO (nothing personal against him) may simply be forced to follow Ms. Barra's strategy and deliver high short-term profits to please investors. Who knows, Ford may also start pulling out of markets where they're weak.

Guess who is going to fill the vacuum in such markets? European, Japanese & South Korean companies will take up some of that no doubt, but the large vacuum created will also draw in the Chinese automobile companies, who're actually improving at a remarkable pace, and are raring to have a go at overseas markets.

GM's exit from India has already brought in SAIC-owned MG. GM's exit from Eastern & Southern African markets will create a vacuum that the Chinese will only be too happy to exploit!

In a way, this reflects what's currently happening in terms of world economics & trade. As the USA steadily turns inward, the vacuum created is slowly being filled by the PRC. As America's influence slowly wanes in certain parts of the world, China is only too happy to get into that space.

Last edited by RSR : 23rd May 2017 at 20:44.
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Old 24th May 2017, 09:43   #9
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

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Originally Posted by volkman10 View Post
History repeats - departure echoes Nasser's past.
Wouldn't agree with this. The only thing common between them is their short tenure. Unlike Mark Fields though, Jacques Nasser was a horrible CEO (perhaps the worst a car company could have). In his pursuit of diversification, he even bought workshops and scrap yards .

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forcing GM's CEO Mary Barra into adopting a "profits before all else" strategy, leading to GM pulling out from several markets (including India).
Frankly, if I were the GM boss, I'd make the same decision. When viewing things on a global level, you have presence in a hundred countries. One of them (India) is where you've made losses after 20 years of trying, have minuscule market-share and the dominant players (Maruti + Hyundai) appear unbeatable.

What I don't like is how Barra came to India and lied about a $1 billion investment.

Here's what CNBC has to say:

Quote:
"He had a difficult situation. He was told to develop an autonomous car. He's told to be a worldwide guy. You do have peak auto in the U.S. and U.S. is really where Ford has made its biggest strides. So, it's kind of an impossible situation," Cramer said on "Squawk Box."

"I was not surprised," He added. "If you judge a guy by a stock price, I guess he had to go."
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Old 24th May 2017, 10:37   #10
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

The going ain't good for Ford. They just pulled the plug on their Mexico plant (Keeping Trump intentions aside) citing poor volumes in their small car space. This was a Mark Fields decision. The way they have left the project reminds of what happened to Tata setting up shop in WB.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39904609

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Old 25th May 2017, 09:54   #11
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

Auto manufacturers know better, but I don't understand why each one of them feels so threatened or so excited about this 'mobility' thing. From Toyota to Tata to Ford everyone is talking about mobility. In my mind mobility and making cars are two different things. They are in the business of making cars. Mobility providers are dependent on cars. So why don't these manufacturers focus on making the most beautiful, efficient cars?

There is just so much innovation that is left to be done especially in terms of connecting cars to personal devices without making them unsafe. For example the whole dashboard can become a plug and play thing. You sit on the car and just put your tab/mobile in the socket and it becomes your dashboard console etc. Huge costs savings can be realized by making speedometer, control units, music system etc redundant. But the manufacturers are focused on 'Uberization' of mobility. It is just not their place to play in, I feel. And Uber is still not profitable and i doubt if the end game for Uber is one of profitability.

Here is a statement made by Mark Fields in 2015, and it got so many management consultants excited : We are a mobility company . But the statement always confused me. Ford is a car company. It should always focus on making the best cars. Cars will never be redundant, only the technology they are based on can be. In my opinion they should have defined themselves as 'We are a car company who will be at the forefront of developing and adopting latest automotive technology'
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Old 25th May 2017, 14:05   #12
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

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Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
Auto manufacturers know better, but I don't understand why each one of them feels so threatened or so excited about this 'mobility' thing. From Toyota to Tata to Ford everyone is talking about mobility. In my mind mobility and making cars are two different things. They are in the business of making cars. Mobility providers are dependent on cars. So why don't these manufacturers focus on making the most beautiful, efficient cars?
This is because purely making cars is a dead end industry - especially for a company like Ford which cannot survive on pushing out low cost models.

For 95% of the population, a car is just a tool to carry them from one place to another. In the coming years increasingly realistic VR (leading to more work/party/etc from home) combined with autonomous cars with Uber/Ola like model will lead to significant drop in car ownership percentage.

Offcourse this is still couple of decades away but the foundation is being setup right now. So everyone is focusing on the root service which a car provides, i.e. mobility.
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Old 28th May 2017, 11:44   #13
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

Call it cleaning house, Ford set to revamp its top positions.

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Along with Mark Fields' departure and Jim Hackett's promotion, Ford has named a slew of senior executives to various divisions – including Raj Nair in the crucial position as head of Ford North America.
Quote:
Nair has until now served as CTO and executive vice president of product development, but will now take over from Joe Hinrichs, who in turn is stepping up to head of global operations
Link

Last edited by volkman10 : 28th May 2017 at 11:45.
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Old 29th May 2017, 08:37   #14
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

Stepping into the shoes after a person like Alan Mullaly is a poisoned chalice.

Mark Fields claim to fame was his rejuvenation of Mazda. Unfortunately, he took over the whole of Ford when the eco-system was changing hard. However, the stock price dictated his departure
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Old 30th May 2017, 00:39   #15
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Default Re: Ford CEO Mark Fields out; James Hackett to take his place

Is Ford really going to shut shop in India?
Is it upto the CEO to take that call?
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