Ford CEO Hackett to retire, COO Jim Farley to lead automaker

Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley will lead the storied automaker into the future starting Oct. 1 when current CEO Jim Hackett retires

DETROIT —
Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley will lead the storied automaker into the future starting Oct. 1 when current CEO Jim Hackett retires.

The company has struggled in recent years and is in the midst of an $11 billion restructuring plan designed to make it leaner and crank out new vehicles to replace what was an aging model lineup.

As COO, the 58-year-old Farley led the company’s global markets and product development. He was in charge as Ford rolled out a revamped F-150 pickup, the new Bronco off-road SUV brand and the electric Mustang Mach-E SUV.

Farley was was hired away from Toyota by then-CEO Alan Mulally in November of 2007 to run Ford’s marketing operations.

The 65-year-old Hackett took over for the ousted Mark Fields in May of 2017. Almost immediately he began reviewing Ford’s management structure and flattened the organization so it could move faster. But his often lengthy directives confused employees who weren’t clear on where the company was headed.

Hackett, a retired Steelcase CEO who had run Ford’s mobility efforts, will stay on as an adviser to Farley through March of 2021.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, the great grandson of company founder Henry Ford, praised Hackett for modernizing the company and reducing bureaucracy.

“We now have compelling plans for electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as full vehicle connectivity. And we are becoming much more nimble,” Ford said. He cited Ford’s quick shift to make ventilators, face shields and other protective equipment to help alleviate shortages at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Just after the change was announced Tuesday morning, Ford shares rose 2% to $6.84 in premarket trading.