Ford Motor Co. has fired CEO Mark Fields – apparently because of less-than-great earnings last year and other problems – and will replace him with a furniture guy, James Hackett, head of the automaker’s Smart Mobility arm, as part of a broad management shakeup, according to reports by Forbes and other news organizations.
This am some bad juju.
If you like cars. If you like driving.
Note that Hackett is/was the head of Ford’s Smart Mobility Arm. Translation – the part of Ford devoted to renting you cars by the hour; cars you don’t drive.
Ford has scheduled a news conference at its Dearborn headquarters for 9:45 a.m. Eastern time Monday.
Hackett, 62, former CEO of office furniture maker Steelcase, was on Ford’s board from 2013 until last year, when he took charge of Ford Smart Mobility.
Ford created that subsidiary last year to handle its investments in autonomous vehicles and new mobility services. Fields has been pouring billions into self-driving cars and ride-sharing experiments as its traditional car business has struggled in a slowing U.S. market.
Fields, 56, had been under pressure for the company’s lagging stock price and lower-than-expected profits so far this year. Board members had recently reportedly questioned Fields’ strategy for the future of the company, which relies on heavy investments in driverless and electric vehicle technology. Since Fields took over as CEO from Alan Mullally in July 2014, Ford’s stock price has fallen nearly 40 percent.
Last week, Ford announced it would slash 1,400 salaried workers in North America and Asia as a cost-cutting move as it continues to spend on what it calls “emerging opportunities.” That type of move, normally reserved for distressed business units and economic downturns, came amid a relative boom time for the industry.
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