Ford is making changes to several key executive roles as it realigns itself to focus on high-tech automotive, mainly electric and autonomous vehicles.
The second-largest U.S. carmaker most recently announced the appointment of Joe Hinrichs as President of Automotive and Jim Farley as President of New Businesses, Technology & Strategy. Marcy Klevorn, President of Mobility, will retire in October, with Farley taking over the mobility role. Klevorn has also been Chairman of Ford Autonomous Vehicles since August 2018. She will serve as Chief Transformation Officer until her retirement.
Hinrichs and Farley will assume their new roles on May 1 and report directly to CEO Jim Hackett. Like Klevorn, who has been with Ford for 36 years, both of the newly promoted executives are company veterans, Reuters reports. Hinrichs joined Ford in 2000 as a Plant Manager, and rose through the ranks, holding a series of executive roles. He became President of Global Operations in 2017. Now that he has the number-two job at Ford, Hinrichs is seen as the heir apparent to Hackett. Farley joined the company in 2007, and was appointed President of Global Markets in 2017.
Since Hackett’s appointment as CEO in May 2017, the company has said it will phase out production of nearly all of its traditional passenger cars, and invest in new businesses. “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,” Hackett said. “With this strong foundation in place for our auto and mobility businesses, we can now accelerate our transformation.”
In March Ford appointed a new Chief Financial Officer, Tim Stone, from outside the company – specifically from the tech industry. Stone is an Amazon veteran who led the high-profile Whole Foods acquisition. He served as Vice President of Finance until he departed Amazon in 2018 to join Snap Inc., best known for its Snapchat app. He was previously CFO of Amazon Web Services and Digital Content.
Stone comes from the tech space, Ford said in its announcement, but brings an appreciation for Ford and the automotive industry to the job. The decision to hire a CFO who most recently worked in social media marks a significant shift, said David Kudla, CEO and Chief Investment Strategist with Mainstay Capital Management. It offers yet another indication of the convergence of the automotive industry with the technology industry. Hackett said at the time that Stone is a perfect fit for “designing smart vehicles for a smart world.”