Ford replaces CEO in push to transform business

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He was appointed to lead Ford's automotive business three years back and the company's started walking towards a downward spiral, due to its lacking efforts in future technologies.

Ford Motor: Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Mark Fields will leave the carmaker as part of a shake-up that includes other top executive changes, Forbes reported late on Sunday, citing a person familiar with the situation. Hackett has led Ford's mobility unit since March of a year ago.

He worked at Grand Rapids, Michigan-based office furniture maker Steelcase for two decades.

Under Fields, Ford achieved a record pretax profit of $10.8 billion in 2015 as SUV and truck sales soared in the U.S.

But there were rumblings of frustration over the pace of change as Ford lagged rivals in bringing long-range electric cars to market. Earlier this year, Tesla passed Ford and GM in the market value of its stock, despite having only a fraction of the sales. "I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford's people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period". But he also cut thousands of jobs and moved furniture production from the U.S.to Mexico to stem massive losses at the company. He also served as interim athletic director of the University of MI from 2014-2016. In that role, he lured star football coach Jim Harbaugh.

But investors anxious about Ford's sliding US market share and product decisions. Now, U.S. auto sales are slipping, and Ford's profit margins are trailing those of larger rival General Motors Co. However, Ford dismayed investors earlier this year by forecasting lower profits for 2017 and higher costs for its investments in "emerging opportunities".

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Fierce US rival General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt electric auto, with 238 miles of range, went on sale a year ago. However, an official announcement hasn't been made yet.

Ford shares are expected to open 0.55% higher from their Friday close at $10.93 each in NY, but have fallen more than 10.4% since the start of the year.

As Forbes and the Journal note, Ford's stock price plummeted almost 40 percent under Fields' tenure.

One of several auto-industry outsiders recruited by Mr. Fields, Mr. Hackett was installed to be instrumental in helping Ford's moves into transportation-related services.

Partly because of those long-term challenges, Ford's stock price has sunk under Fields. In this role, Hinrichs will oversee Ford's global Product Development; Manufacturing and Labor Affairs; Quality; Purchasing; and Sustainability, Environmental and Safety Engineering; Hinrichs has been serving as Ford executive vice president and president, The Americas, since December 2012. Chief Technical Officer Marcy Klevorn will reportedly take over Hackett's job as head of autonomous vehicles.

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