Ford’s global CEO, Mark Fields, has pulled the brakes on his career and switched off his engine. However, talks of Fields’ reveals that he may have actually received the boot? Replacing him will be former Steelcase CEO, Jim Hackett.
After 28 years, Mark Fields has reached the end of his career with global auto brand, Ford. After the Ford brand’s crisis in 2009, Ford sold Mazda, Land Rover, Jaguar and Volvo to focus Ford vehicles as ‘one’ global brand. Taking over from his mentor, Alan Mulally, Mark Fields’ history with the Ford company has seen years of great profits in sales. However, his apparent decision to “retire” does not come as much of a surprise considering that the company had hit a downturn within the auto industry recently, along with issues surrounding Ford’s stock price.
The Mark Fields era
Since becoming Ford’s CEO in 2014, the brand’s stock prices went downhill by 35%, as well as car sales – Exceeding the industry’s decline by a wide mark of 25%. Ford has also seen quite a bit of safety recalls. Remember the Ford Kuga fire outburst? Skyrocketing profits clearly wasn’t good enough and investors wasn’t happy. Hackett believes that the only way to U-turn Ford’s stock prices, is to start performing.
Was this a ‘dignified’ way out?
Avoiding the bitter status of ‘fired’, Mark Fields seemed to have selected the right option to officially ‘retire’ instead – at the age of 56 years; which we all know is before the legal retirement age of 65 years. However, giving Fields the benefit of the doubt, retirement plans are generally planned years in advance and Fields has devoted 28 years to Ford.
But what does this imply for Ford’s future?
It is clear that Ford’s plans are road tripping towards a future of AI, autonomous driving, electric vehicles and car sharing, by 2021. Although Fields stated that he “supported the future” of the brand’s transition into a smart mobility company, his performance showed no result, and at the same time, stock prices and car sales spiraled down fast under his clock.
Prior to his new position as Ford’s new ‘big boss’, Jim Hackett was running the brand’s ‘smart mobility’ division. But, Executive Chairman Bill Ford clearly has ambitious plans for Hackett as a “transformational leader”. At a press conference, said that Hackett needs to focus on future investments, modernizing the business and “under-performing areas” – by the sound of this, Fields clearly didn’t meet the great expectations of the company.
CarZar hopes that Jim Hackett will make ‘smart’ decisions and move at the speed of a Ford super car. Here’s to a successful transition in Ford’s future.
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