Ford Motor Company Appoints Jim Hackett as CEO
Ford Motor Company today named Jim Hackett as its new president and CEO and announced key global leadership changes designed to further strengthen its core automotive business and accelerate a strategic shift to capitalize on emerging opportunities.
Hackett, 62, has a long track record of innovation and business success as CEO of Steelcase, Interim Athletic Director at the University of Michigan and executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC.
Reporting to Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Hackett will lead Ford’s worldwide operations and 202,000 employees globally. He succeeds Mark Fields, 56, who has elected to retire from Ford after a successful 28-year career with the company.
Prior to serving in this role, Hackett was chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a subsidiary of Ford formed to accelerate the company’s plans to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services. He was named to the position March 10, 2016.
Before joining Ford Smart Mobility, Hackett was a member of the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors starting in 2013. As a member of the Sustainability and Innovation committee, he was actively involved with the Ford senior leadership team in launching the company’s Ford Smart Mobility plan. He also served on the Audit and the Nominating and Governance committees.
Hackett was vice chairman of Steelcase, the global leader in the office furniture industry, from 2014 to 2015. He retired as CEO of Steelcase in February 2014, after having spent 20 years leading the Grand Rapids-based office furniture company.
As a consumer-focused visionary in the office furniture industry, Hackett is credited with guiding Steelcase to becoming a global leader. During his 30 years there, he helped transform the office furniture company from traditional manufacturer to industry innovator. Having spent his career focused on the evolving needs of consumers, Hackett is recognized for predicting that the office landscape would shift away from cubicles to an open space environment, giving employees the flexibility to work where they want.
Hackett is well known for his creative management approach to business. Through an equity investment by Steelcase in IDEO, an international consulting firm, Hackett forged a unique business relationship with its CEO David Kelley to foster design innovation at the office furniture company. At that time in 1996, IDEO specialized in the design of a number of consumer products, office equipment, medical instrumentation, furniture and computers including design of the first “mouse” for early Apple computers.
He was interim director of athletics at the University of Michigan from Oct. 31, 2014 to March 11, 2016 where he led the search for a permanent athletic director appointed in January 2016. He played center on the University of Michigan football team prior to graduating from the university with a bachelor’s degree in Finance in 1977.
“We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,” Bill Ford said. “Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.”
Added Hackett: “I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders. I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period.”
Hackett, together with Bill Ford, will focus on three priorities:
- Sharpening operational execution across the global business to further enhance quality, go-to-market strategy; product launch, while decisively addressing underperforming parts of the business
- Modernizing Ford’s business, using new tools and techniques to unleash innovation, speed decision making and improve efficiency. This includes increasingly leveraging big data, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, 3D printing and more
- Transforming the company to meet future challenges, ensuring the company has the right culture, talent, strategic processes and nimbleness to succeed as society’s needs and consumer behavior change over time
Bill Ford and Ford’s Board of Directors thanked Fields for his significant contributions to the company. “Mark Fields has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for all he has accomplished in his many roles around the globe at Ford,” Bill Ford said. “His strong leadership was critical to our North American restructuring, our turnaround at the end of the last decade, and our record profits in the past two years.”
Ford also named leaders to three new roles under Hackett. Jim Farley is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Markets, Joe Hinrichs is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Operations, and Marcy Klevorn is appointed executive vice president and president, Mobility.