Ford has announced the retirement of Jim Hackett, who has led the company since 2017, with Jim Farley to become the new President and CEO along with joining the board of directors. The corporate shuffle will take place on 1 October.
Ford says over the next two months, Hackett and Farley will work together on a smooth leadership transition. The company says that Hackett’s leadership saw Ford move aggressively into the new era of smart vehicles and saw it better delivering what customers wanted. The company also “improved the fitness of the base business restructuring operations”, enhanced its product portfolio and reduced bureaucracy.
“I am very grateful to Jim Hackett for all he has done to modernise Ford and prepare us to compete and win in the future,” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford. “Our new product vision – led by the Mustang Mach-E, new F-150 and Bronco family – is taking shape. We now have compelling plans for electric and autonomous vehicles as well as full vehicle connectivity, and we are becoming much more nimble, which was apparent when we quickly mobilised to make life-saving equipment at the outset of the pandemic.”
Farley began his automotive career in 1990 at Toyota, joining the company’s strategic planning department and serving in several product and marketing positions in the United States and Europe. One of his most noted accomplishments is his responsibility for the successful launch and rollout of Toyota’s new Scion brand. He later became Group Vice President of Marketing at Toyota and was responsible for all Toyota market planning, advertising, merchandising, sales promotion, incentives and internet activities.
Farley then jumped to the carmaker’s luxury brand, Lexus, becoming Group Vice President and General Manager. He was responsible for all sales, marketing and customer satisfaction activities for the brand.
Farley joined Ford in 2007 and would go on to lead marketing and sales globally, eventually leading Lincoln, Ford South America, Ford of Europe and all Ford global markets in successive roles, culminating in the CEO position.
Ford says Farley has collaborated with Hackett over the past three years to develop and execute Ford’s Creating Tomorrow Together plan to transform the company into a higher-growth, higher-margin business. In April last year, Farley was chosen to lead its New Businesses, Technology & Strategy team to “help the company determine how to capitalise on powerful forces reshaping the industry”. He was named Chief Operating Officer in February of this year.
“Jim Farley matches an innate feel for cars and customers with great instincts for the future and the new technologies that are changing our industry,” said Ford. “Jim’s passion for great vehicles and his intense drive for results are well known, and I have also seen him develop into a transformational leader with the determination and foresight to help Ford thrive into the future.”
“My goal when I took on the CEO role was to prepare Ford to win in the future,” said Hackett. “The hardest thing for a proud, long-lived company to do is change to meet the challenges of the world it’s entering rather than the world it has known. I’m very proud of how far we have come in creating a modern Ford and I am very optimistic about the future.
“I have worked side-by-side with Jim Farley for the past three years and have the greatest confidence in him as a person and a leader. He has been instrumental in crafting our new product portfolio and redesigning our businesses around the world. He is also a change agent with a deep understanding of how to lead Ford in this new era defined by smart vehicles in a smart world.”
“I love Ford and I am honoured by the opportunity to serve and create value for Ford’s employees, customers, dealers, communities and all of our stakeholders,” said Farley. “Jim Hackett has laid the foundation for a really vibrant future and we have made tremendous progress in the past three years. I am so excited to work together with the whole Ford team to realise the full potential of this great company in a new era.”