Ford Motor Company shook up its top management Monday, ousting its CEO amid declining sales in major markets, pressure to ramp up technology and a flagging share price.
The company named Jim Hackett, who launched and led the high-tech division developing Ford’s self-driving cars, to replace Mark Fields as president and CEO.
It also named three new executive vice presidents to oversee global markets, global operations and mobility as part of the shakeup. The appointments are effective June 1.
Executive chairman Bill Ford, great-grandson of the company’s founder, said the move had been “in discussion for some time.”
The decision was not made “hastily” but after some consideration “we decided it was the right time for him to resign,” after 28 years with the company.
“This is a time of unprecedented change,” Ford said during a press conference. “And time of great change in my mind requires a transformational leader.”
He praised Hackett as a “proven transformational leader” and “visionary thinker.”
Hackett, 62, has led Ford’s “smart mobility” unit, which includes autonomous vehicles and connectivity features, since March 2016. He previously led a turnaround at office furniture company Steelcase.
Noting the new trends in artificial intelligence, deep learning and robotics, Ford said there is a need to modernize the business, speed up decision-making, and “move decisively to address underperforming areas.”