Ford set to fire CEO Mark Fields as shares founder

Posted May 22, 2017

Ford Motor Co confirmed Monday it is ousting its chief executive Mark Fields and replacing him with the head of the company's unit overseeing self-driving vehicle efforts.

Ford CEO Mark Fields is on his way out, according to published reports.

A Ford spokesman declined to discuss any management changes, but the company called a news conference for 1345 GMT (0945 ET).

More news: Djokovic advances to 3rd round in Madrid Open

The company's board and Mr. Ford, however, began discussing changes to the leadership team recently as the share price hovered around $11 a share-nearly 40% lower than when Mr. Fields took over. Fields will be replaced by Jim Hackett, who joined Ford's board in 2013. Previously, Hackett was chief executive of Steelcase, the office furniture company. Fields replaced Alan Mulally in mid-2014, but lacked his predecessor's ability to rally employees around a common mission or to make critical decisions about the company's strategy.

Fields has been unable to impress the automaker's board and investors with plans for reversing Ford's fortunes.

Fields was criticised at the annual shareholders meeting two weeks ago over Ford's performance. He now plans to accelerate the self-driving efforts and achieve the goal of making autonomous vehicles available by 2021.

More news: WannaCry Ransomware: Microsoft Calls Out NSA For 'Stockpiling' Vulnerabilities

Ford has churned out strong profits on his watch, reporting a record $10.4 billion in pretax earnings in 2016.

Fields, 56, has worked for Ford for almost 28 years. He was recognized for predicting the office landscape would shift away from cubicles to an open-space environment, and transformed the traditional manufacturer of office furniture, the profile showed.

But investors anxious about Ford's sliding US market share and product decisions. Auto expert Christian Stadler believes that a the new Ford CEO was unlikely to make a "substantial difference" in terms of fundamteals, although he could have a "positive impact on the share price". Jim Farley, Ford of Europe chief since January 2015, is set to move to oversee Ford's regions, global marketing and sales, as well as its Lincoln Motor Co, the sources said.

More news: New lawsuit alleges Baylor football team used gang rapes as 'bonding' experience

Evidence of this is the high market capitalization for upstart Tesla, with a market cap of $52.22 billion, while Ford is at $43.4 billion as of Friday's close. Marcy Klevorn, Ford's chief technical officer, will replace Hackett as the head of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, Ford's future mobility unit.