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Ford Motor Co Shakes up its Top Executive Team as the Automaker Prepares for its Future

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【Summary】As the Ford Motor Company plans its future to become a complete mobility services provider, the Detroit-based company has made some changes to its top executive team. Among them, Ford announced that Jim Farley has been named chief operating officer of Ford, reporting directly to president and CEO Jim Hackett.

FutureCar Staff    Feb 07, 2020 2:45 PM PT
Ford Motor Co Shakes up its Top Executive Team as the Automaker Prepares for its Future

As the Ford Motor Company plans its future to become a complete mobility services provider the Detroit-based company has made new changes to its top executive team.

Ford today announced that Jim Farley has been named chief operating officer of Ford, reporting directly to the company's president and CEO Jim Hackett. Ford also announced that Joe Hinrichs is retiring as Ford's president, Automotive, after a 19-year career with the company. 

Ford said the move is part of its efforts to carry out its "Creating Tomorrow Together" strategic plan. Ford's Creating Tomorrow Together Plan is comprised of four main pillars and is designed to position the company as a leader in mobility services.

The automaker will focus on designing more intelligent vehicles that are capable of connecting to each other. Along with Ford's new "smart vehicles", the automaker is developing a new portfolio of electric vehicles, as well as its autonomous driving business and cloud-based mobility experiences. 

These new business areas will generate additional revenue streams for Ford, as personal car ownership is expected to decline in the future.

"Jim Farley is the right person to take on this important new role," Hackett said. "Jim's passion for great vehicles and his intense drive for results are well known. He also has developed into a transformational leader with the imagination and foresight to help lead Ford into the future." 

Ford is also facing strong competition from Tesla, the electric automaker which bills itself as a software company with its highly advanced and connected vehicles. With growing competition, Ford has a renewed sense of urgency to fully integrate and accelerate its transformation into a higher-growth, higher-margin business by leveraging smart, connected vehicles and services. 

Ford began transforming the company in 2017 in face of sweeping technological change and disruption in the auto industry, like rapid electrification spurred by industry leader Tesla.

Farley joined Ford in 2007 as global head of Marketing and Sales. From there, he took over at Ford's luxury division Lincoln as head of global marketing & sales. He was also tapped to lead the strategy and business model development for electrified vehicles at the automaker.

Since April, Farley has led Ford's New Businesses, Technology & Strategy team, helping the company determine how to capitalize on the powerful forces reshaping the industry – such as software platforms, connectivity, AI, automation and new forms of propulsion.

In his new role, Farley will oversee all of Ford's global markets and automotive operations, including Product Development; Purchasing; Enterprise Product Line Management; Manufacturing & Labor Affairs; Marketing, Sales & Service; and Quality & New Model Launch.

He also will retain leadership of Ford Smart Mobility, Ford's AV LLC and Ford's partnership with Argo AI, its autonomous driving unit it acquired for $1 billion in 2017.

"I'm thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to work with Jim Hackett and the entire Ford team to advance our vision to design increasingly intelligent vehicles and connect them to the world around us, all to make life better for our customers and communities," Farley said. "Ford is blessed with great people and an incredible brand, and together we will build a very bright future."

In addition to Farley's new role, Ford announced that Hau Thai-Tang, chief product development and purchasing officer, will take on an expanded role, also reporting to Jim Farley. Thai-Tang will continue to lead Product Development and Purchasing, while adding responsibility for Enterprise Product Line Management and connectivity.

"Hau will be the primary architect as we bring together the vehicle architecture and software stack to create products, services and experiences our customers will love," Hackett said. "We are moving forward with an integrated approach to vehicles and connected services, all anchored in an obsession for the customer, great design and a commitment to strong returns."

Hackett praised Hinrichs' contributions to the company during his long career at Ford.

"I thank Joe for his tremendous leadership over the past two decades," Hackett said. "Joe was instrumental to Ford's ability to survive the Great Recession a decade ago without bankruptcy or taxpayer bailout, and successfully headed Ford's operations in Asia Pacific and North America.

Hinrich oversaw Ford's global portfolio of vehicles, helping the automaker forge a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with the UAW. Hackett said he was also sought out as "an authority and promoter of smart global trade."  

All the changes announced will be effective March 1.

Ford's first effort in remaking the company is the new all-electric Mach-E SUV. The Mach-E was inspired by the iconic Ford Mustang and is Ford's first electric model, with many more to come.

The Mach-E will debut as a 2021 model and it will be available later this year.

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