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Ford CEO Hackett Steps Down - COO Farley Takes Helm in October

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, who has lead the carmaker for only three years, will step down in October.

Ford Motor Co.  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report said Tuesday that Chief Executive Jim Hackett will leave the carmaker in October, a shock decision that followed the group's stronger-than-expected earnings last week and sent shares higher in early Wall Street trading.

The 65-year-old Hackett, who has led the group for only three years, will retire and be succeeded by Ford's chief operating officer, Jim Farley, 58, who will also serve on the company's board joined Ford in 2007 and headed its new business, technology and strategy group. Hackett will remain a special adviser to Ford until March of next year, the carmaker said.

“I am very grateful to Jim Hackett for all he has done to modernize Ford and prepare us to compete and win in the future,” said Ford chairman Bill Ford. “Our new product vision – led by the Mustang Mach-E, new F-150 and Bronco family – is taking shape. We now have compelling plans for electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as full vehicle connectivity. And we are becoming much more nimble, which was apparent when we quickly mobilized to make life-saving equipment at the outset of the pandemic.” 

Ford shares were marked 2.5% higher following the leadership change to change hands at $6.86 each.

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Ford shares, however, have fallen some 38.5% since Hackett, a former furniture industry veteran, was appointed group CEO on May 22, 2017.

Last week, Ford said it expects a full-year loss even after it posted stronger-than-expected second quarter profits of $1.1 billion, or 28 cents per share, on sales of $19.4 billion. The profits came thanks in part to one of Hackett's key strategies - an investment from Volkswagen AG that the two companies established last year.

Volkswagen said at the time that it would invest $3.1 billion into the venture, a figure that includes the purchase of $500 million Argo shares owned by Ford.