Ford Appoints Jim Hackett As CEO; Announces Key Leadership Changes

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For automakers, competition today is as likely to come from Silicon Valley as it is from Detroit, Japan or Germany.

He was appointed CEO in 2014, but since then Ford's share price has plummeted by 40%.

While nobody at Ford said Fields was sacked, Executive Chairman Bill Ford put it this way at the Monday event: "We had a board meeting on Friday".

Fields, who as recently as 2015 produced record profits for the iconic automaker, has been replaced as CEO by Jim Hackett.

Hackett's job will be to reinvent Ford into a new transportation company capable of prospering in a highly competitive and fast-changing business.

Hackett was the CEO of Steelcase for 20 years.

"I think he's going to have to prove himself", Gordon said. "People can speculate all they want about that".

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas warned investors that the executive move could be a sign that Ford is facing further earnings risk.

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Ford has to decide whether ride-hailing apps like Uber mean that Millennials won't buy cars. "Maybe people stop buying cars and start buying rides when they need them and we could see a massive drop off in auto sales", he said.

Ford and Hackett's focus on the future of transportation has been much wider than just working on a self-driving vehicle for the consumer market. US sales are plateauing after years of growth, and Ford has been losing share in that all-important market.

Investors clearly have their doubts as to whether Ford is up for these challenges. Hackett succeeds Mark Fields, who took over for Alan Mulally in 2014. And it's not just Ford. "So he's going to take more responsibility". And in the electric auto market, General Motors put the Chevrolet Bolt, with 238 miles of range, on sale a year ago; Ford is working on an electric SUV with 300 miles of range, but it's not due out until 2020.

Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields is under pressure from shareholders and board directors to improve profits, particularly in North America, and reverse a nearly three-year slid in the company's stock price that has eroded more than 30% of shareholder value. GM's shares are worth around $33, while Ford's languish below $11. "We need to be quick in everything we do", Ford told CNN's Poppy Harlow on Monday.

Ford said past year it plans to spend about $5.5 billion on research and development on electric and self-driving cars.

Last week, Ford said that it would cut 1,400 jobs in North America and Asia through voluntary early retirement and other financial incentives.

But there were rumblings that Fields wasn't focused enough on Ford's core business, as popular products like the Fusion sedan grew dated and Ford lagged behind rivals in bringing long-range electric cars to the market.