"We're moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future," Ford executive Chairman 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."
Hackett, head of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, its autonomous vehicles subsidiary, led a turnaround at office equipment-maker Steelcase Inc. before joining Ford's board in 2013, Forbes reported.
Shares of Ford stock dropped 40 percent in value during Fields' three-year tenure as company leader. He also was criticized by investors and the Ford board for failure to expand the company's auto business, its core. Ford also was seen as lagging behind in developing high-tech vehicles for the future, The New York Times reported Monday.
In an annual shareholder meeting on May 11, Fields said Ford was capable of staying competitive in the current market for vehicles, while "keeping one foot in the future" of self-driving and battery-powered cars. Profit, though, fell 30 percent in the first quarter of 2017, U.S. market share declined in that period and Ford safety recalls increased. Despite spending on self-driving vehicle research, Ford is struggling to keep pace with General Motors, Google and other companies in bringing autonomous driving to market.
Fields, who will retire from Ford, also led a $1.6 billion project to build a small-car assembly plant in Mexico, a plan abandoned earlier this year, as small car sales slowed and the election of President Donald Trump increase pressure on U.S. car manufacturers to build products within the United States.
Other appointments announced Monday include Jim Farley as president of the company's Global Markets division; Joe Hinrichs as president of Global Operations, and Marcy Klevorn, president of the Mobility division.