Ford Shakes Up C-Suite, Taps Jim Farley as Operating Chief

Ford is naming its strategy chief, Jim Farley, as the chief operating officer as Joe Hinrichs retires.
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Ford Motor (F) - Get Report is naming its strategy chief, Jim Farley, as the chief operating officer and he'll be taking over broader responsibilities from the auto maker's retiring president of automotive, Joe Hinrichs, the company said Friday.

The shares at last check were off about 1.1% to $8.16.

The move comes days after the iconic auto manufacturer missed Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations and offered a disappointing outlook for 2020.

Farley will report to President and CEO Jim Hackett. He will be responsible for all global markets and automotive operations, Ford Smart Mobility and autonomous vehicles.

Hinrichs will retire after 19 years with the company. He was named president of automotive operations in April.

Farley, 57, joined Ford in 2007 as global head of marketing and sales and went on to lead Lincoln, Ford South America, Ford of Europe and all Ford global markets in successive roles. Since April, Farley has led Ford’s new businesses, technology and strategy team.

The changes come, the company said, "as Ford is moving with urgency to fully integrate and accelerate its transformation into a higher-growth, higher-margin business by leveraging smart, connected vehicles and services."

Ford also said that Hau Thai-Tang, 53, chief product development and purchasing officer, will take on an expanded role.

While continuing to lead product development and purchasing, he will also be responsible for enterprise product line management and connectivity. He will report to Farley.

The changes are effective March 1.

On Tuesday, Ford reported adjusted earnings of 12 cents a share on revenue of $39.7 billion. A survey of 16 analysts by FactSet had forecast the company would make 17 cents a share on sales of $39.6 billion.

For the year-earlier quarter, the company posted earnings of 30 cents a share on sales of $41.8 billion.

"Financially, the company’s 2019 performance was short of our original expectations, mostly because our operational execution – which we usually do very well – wasn’t nearly good enough," Hackett had said in a statement. 

"We recognize, take accountability for and have made changes because of this.”