Ford Motor Co.
Jim Hackett, Left; Jim Farley, Right; Ford Motor Co

Ford CEO Hackett to Retire; Jim Farley Appointed New CEO

Aug. 4, 2020
The announcement comes less than a week after Ford reported better than expected income for the second quarter.

Six months after appointing Jim Farley as COO, Ford Motor Company announced today that he would lead the company as its next CEO. Jim Hackett, CEO since 2017, will retire. The change in leadership is effective October 1.

Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford, said he was “grateful” to Hackett for his work in modernizing Ford. In a statement, he credited the departing CEO for reducing bureaucracy, restructuring operations, and developing plans for electric and autonomous vehicles. “We are becoming much more nimble, which was apparent when we quickly mobilized to make life-saving equipment at the outset of the pandemic,” he added.

In a statement, Jim Hackett said that the time was right for the switch. Farley “has been instrumental in crafting our new product portfolio and redesigning our businesses around the world,” he said. “He is also a change agent with a deep understanding of how to lead Ford in this new era defined by smart vehicles in a smart world.”

Hackett, who came to Ford from Steelcase, a furniture company, will be stepping down for a man with a lifelong passion for cars and racing. Farley’s father and grandfather both worked for Ford, and as a teenager, Farley managed to talk his grandfather into getting him a summer job in California picking up old Ford parts and sorting them. Instead of flying home to Michigan, though, he talked a dealer into selling him a “messed up” 1965 Mustang, restored it, traded his ticket for gas money, and set off on a cross-country road trip.

“I met the most fascinating people,” he recounted at a World Congress Q&A session in 2019. “I got terrible gas mileage in Vegas. I went to gas stations, ran out of money, a guy helped me tune it up in the back of this gas station. My lights went out in the middle of the desert. It was an awesome trip.”

Despite his family history with Ford, Farley started his career with Toyota’s strategic planning department after Ford offered him a position as financial planner for the rear differential of the F series. “Toyota said, you could be a product planner. I was like, ‘What’s that?’ That’s where you work with the engineers in Japan, you kind of figure out what’s the right product for the United States,” he recounted. “I said, ‘You mean this is for the whole car?’” Farley worked at Toyota for almost two decades and notably oversaw the successful launch of Toyota’s Scion brand before starting work at Ford in 2007 as its group vice president of marketing and communication.

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