Ford (F) shares were indicated higher in premarket trading Monday after several media reports suggested under-fire CEO Mark Fields will leave the company as it seeks to put a multi-year period of poor financial performance and share price declines behind it.
The company is said to have chosen James Hackett, currently chairman of the group's Smart Mobility business, as Fields' replacement, according to the New York Times. Hackett's role at Smart Mobility has seen him oversee the group's effort to bring electric and autonomous vehicles to main street.
Ford shares traded up 2% to $11.10 apiece in premarket, but have fallen more than 10.4% since the start of the year.
Formerly a member of the Ford board, as well as an accomplished director elsewhere, Hackett faces the challenge of righting a capsized ship when he takes the helm of the group.
Reports of Fields' ousting come just weeks after the Dearborn based company delivered a dire set of first-quarter results, which brought about yet more share price weakness.
Over the last three years Ford stock has fallen by nearly 50%, down from its 2014 peak of $18 per share, to close at $10.87 on Friday.
During this time Ford's top line has grown by around 5% in total although its bottom line has more than halved, according FactSet data, to just $2.2 billion for the year to Dec 31.
With emissions aside, electric and autonomous vehicles have dominated the auto industry news agenda in recent years, leading car makers into an arms race with each seeking to be first to market with a commercially viable offering.
Since his appointment in July 2014 Fields has been accused of, among other things, having been too slow to respond to the now-apparent shift toward electric and autonomous vehicles across the industry.
Hackett's appointment could be as much about taking back lost ground in the autonomous and electric vehicle arms race as it is about putting the increasingly poor financial performance of the broader group behind it.
More than half of the analysts recorded as covering the stock by FactSet have recently rated Ford as a hold, while three have advocated selling and the remainder rate it a buy.