Ford Shakes Up Senior Management Ranks – Again

Move meant to help “accelerate” its “transformation.”

by on Apr.10, 2019

Joe Hinrichs and Jim Farley shown together during the launch of the Ford Shelby GT 350.

Ford is shaking up key elements of its top management team, the automaker announced on Wednesday morning, a move it says will “accelerate” the changes that began with the appointment of Jim Hackett as CEO two years ago, with an emphasis on “smart vehicles for a smart world.”

The changes will see Hackett’s two top lieutenants, Jim Farley and Joe Hinrichs, take on broader responsibilities. At the same time, Ford’s highest-ranking woman, Marcy Klevorn, will retire from her post as head of mobility services after 36 years with the automaker.

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“In the past two years, we have made tangible progress in improving the fitness of our business, overhauled our regional strategies, created a winning product portfolio, and are working to transform Ford to succeed in an era of profound change and disruption,” CEO Jim Hackett said. “With this strong foundation in place for our auto and mobility businesses, we can now accelerate our transformation.”

(Ford prepping off-road version of popular Escape SUV. Click Here for the story.)

Hackett himself was appointed Ford chief executive officer in May 2017 following a shake-up that saw the ouster of CEO Mark Fields. The company has undergone a number of management realignments since then as Hackett has pushed to lay out a new direction for the automaker. Among other things, he has called for Ford to walk away from the passenger car market and focus on SUVs, CUVs, pickups and other light trucks. He has also accelerated Fields’ push into electrified vehicles, autonomous driving and other mobility services.

Jim Farley now takes on a broad array of strategic and analytical tasks for Ford.

Further changes are reportedly in the works, with Reuters reporting Ford is preparing to end its standalone operations in India and instead partner with local manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra, with which it already has an extensive line-up of joint ventures.

The management changes announced Wednesday appear to be taking such a move into account, along with the additional joint ventures Ford says it is working on with Volkswagen AG. In January, it announced the first partnership with the German automaker, a move that will see them work together on the development of future commercial vehicles.

The shake-up also reflects the flattening of the Ford management structure Hinrichs described during an interview with earlier this year.

The latest management move will see Jim Farley become president of New Businesses, Technology & Strategy. That will give him a broad portfolio of operations to oversee, including strategy, smart mobility, autonomous vehicles, research and advanced engineering, corporate partnerships and global data insight and analytics.

(For the latest on the all-electric Mustang/CUV, Click Here.)

Joe Hinrichs, meanwhile, will now serve as president of Automotive. That will put him in charge of Ford’s global operations, including product development, purchasing, manufacturing, marketing & sales, and the automaker’s global business units in North and South America, Europe, China and other international regions.

Joe Hinrichs, shown with Chicago's former mayor Rahm Emanuel, in February.

With mobility services shifting to Farley, Marcy Klevorn will step down in October after 36 years. She will continue to work directly with CEO Hackett, in the interim, as Ford’s chief transformation officer.

Finally, John Lawler will now serve as vice president of Strategy, reporting to Farley, will also leading business development and global data insights and analytics.

The moves reposition two executives seen as the eventual candidates to replace Hackett, the 63-year-old former CEO of Steelcase.

(Why have Ford’s sales been in freefall? Click Here to find out.)

Hackett initially came into Ford to oversee some of its advanced technology efforts, as well as to serve on its board. He was named chief executive after a falling out between former CEO Fields and Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr., great-grandson of the automaker’s founder.

Hackett has been working to reposition Ford as a mobility services operation that not only builds cars but also will enter an array of new transportation arenas, including ride and car-sharing.

Much of the day-to-day work, however, has been handled by both Farley and Hinrichs, as the new management moves underscore.

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2 Responses to “Ford Shakes Up Senior Management Ranks – Again”

  1. JAH says:

    Paul, Klevorn was promoted, not retired:

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      She is in an “interim” position until October when she retires.

      Paul E.

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