On Monday, Ford Motor will announce that CEO Mark Fields is retiring, to be replaced by Jim Hackett, the former chief executive of office-furniture company Steelcase Inc., people briefed on the switch tell The Associated Press and The New York Times. Fields, 56, is being pushed out after three years as chief executive and 28 years at Ford after the automaker's share price has dropped 40 percent under his watch. Investors criticized him for lagging behind peers in creating electric vehicles and advancing toward self-driving autos, while also letting some core products grow stale. At the same time, Ford reported record pretax profits in 2015.
"Mark Fields was given the nearly impossible task of making the utterly conventional auto manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, into a high-tech information-style company with share values to match," says Jack Nerad at Kelley Blue Book. "Despite turning in credible profits, Fields was unable to turn Ford into a stock market darling, and that may well prove elusive going forward."
Hackett, who has led Ford's mobility unit since last year, was credited with reversing Steelcase's declining fortunes, in part by foreseeing the shift from cubicles to open office floor plans. He also moved factories to Mexico and cut thousands of jobs, AP notes.