AP Source: Ford replaces CEO in push to transform business

MGN

DETROIT (AP) - Ford Motor Co. is replacing CEO Mark Fields amid questions about its current performance and future strategy, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The source says CEO Mark Fields is retiring at age 56 after 28 years at the company.

The source says Fields will be replaced by Jim Hackett, who joined Ford's board in 2013. Hackett has led Ford's mobility unit since last year. He is the former CEO of office furniture maker Steelcase.

As CEO, Fields began Ford's transition from a traditional automaker into a "mobility" company, laying out plans to build autonomous vehicles and explore new services such as ride-hailing and car-sharing. Under Fields, Ford achieved a record pretax profit of $10.8 billion in 2015 after the company's new, aluminum-sided F-150 pickup went on sale.

But there were rumblings that Fields wasn't focusing enough on Ford's core business, as popular products like the Fusion sedan grew dated and Ford lagged behind rivals in bringing long-range electric cars to the market. The stock price sagged, and electric car maker Tesla Inc. even passed the 114-year-old Ford in market value. Ford's stock price has fallen almost 40 percent in the three years since Fields became CEO.

Hackett is the former CEO of Steelcase Inc., one of the world's largest office furniture companies. He is credited with transforming that company, in part by predicting the shift away from cubicles and into open office plans. But he also cut thousands of jobs and moved furniture production from the U.S. to Mexico to stem massive losses at the company.



 
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