Technically he retired from the company.

Yesterday, it was announced that relative newcomer Jim Hackett will replace Mark Fields as Ford’s president and CEO. Less than three years into his tenure, Fields has decided to retire from the company after a 28-year career with the manufacturer.

As surprising as this move was, it was something analysts expected. Although Fields successfully renewed Ford’s model lineup, which is still an ongoing process, and oversaw record profitability, the company’s shares have still declined by almost 40 percent since 2014. The lack of clarity about the brand’s future is seen by commentators as an area where improvement is needed.

“Should we sharpen our message? Absolutely,” Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, told Automotive News during Ford’s press conference yesterday. “To be able to sharpen your message, you need to have clarity of strategy and a clear sense of alignment behind that message.”

Fields’ successor, Jim Hackett, is seen by Ford as a "cultural change agent," who can have a similar effect on the workforce as Alan Mullaly, CEO before Fields, who changed the company’s “toxic corporate culture,” as Automotive News says.

"We want people to come to work thinking they can have a great day here," Hackett declared. "There's pockets of this that exist, but we're going to make it more emphatic."

A crucial move for Ford will be the return to the “One Ford” mantra. In recent years, Fields created the Ford Smart Mobility division, focusing on new mobility services, autonomous cars, and electric vehicles: Fields wanted Ford to become an "auto and a mobility company," exploring different "emerging opportunities." That strategy failed and Ford now plans to return to a strategy focused on one core company.

"You won't hear us talking, at least a lot, about emerging vs. core," Bill Ford said. "This is one Ford Motor Co. We don't want one group to feel like they're the cool group and the other group is the left-out group. I think it's really important that we're seen by our employees and the public as 'This is the Blue Oval, this is how we're moving forward as a company,' and not as several companies."

Source: Automotive News

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