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Ford announces new CEO as it eyes bigger electric push

By AFP - Aug 04,2020 - Last updated at Aug 04,2020

NEW YORK — Ford announced on Tuesday that Jim Hackett would resign as chief executive and be replaced by longtime auto executive Jim Farley as the car giant pushes further into digital and electric investment.

Hackett, 65, will hand over the job to Farley, 58, on October 1, but stay on as a special adviser through March 2021. Farley joined Ford in 2007 after a long tenure at Toyota and currently serves as chief operating officer.

Hackett joined Ford in 2017 from furniture company Steelcase and was known for his skills in turning around struggling organisations.

Ford Chairman Bill Ford said during a briefing with reporters that Hackett's mission at the outset of his appointment included preparing the company for a successor.

Hackett has overseen some major shifts at the 117-year-old Detroit auto staple, including phasing out most sedan models in the US market and launching the Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric sport utility vehicle built on one of the auto industry's most iconic brands.

Both moves drew scrutiny, with some analysts pointing out that ending sedan-building in the truck-centred US market alienated some customers, and some design mavens decrying the Mustang's makeover into a suburban-oriented mainstay.

The company's share price has fallen through most of Hackett's tenure amid questions over the company's long-term direction.

But Hackett pressed on, "taking on the tough issues and slaying the sacred cows", said Bill Ford, who also characterised Farley as a true car expert, noting he enjoys racing vintage cars as a hobby.

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