"We need a transformational leader," Ford (F) - Get Report executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. declared at a news conference on Monday morning announcing the company's surprising decision to replace Mark Fields as CEO with Jim Hackett. Hackett, the former CEO of Steelcase (SCS) - Get Report, had been leading Ford's all-important Smart Mobility unit, which was experimenting with self-driving cars and car-sharing programs. Ford's stock price had fallen about 30% over the three years with Fields at the helm; they were rising 1.5% on Monday on news of his dismissal and Hackett's elevation.
Ford is far from the only Fortune 500 company whose businesses are being upended by technology and could use an experienced tech visionary as its leader. Here are a few other major companies that come to mind.
Target CEO Brian Cornell
It might be time for Target's (TGT) - Get Report executive vice president and chief information and digital officer, Michael McNamara, to take the reins away from current CEO Brian Cornell, whose cautious tactics have caused the retailer to fall behind competitors such as Walmart (WMT) - Get Report. Top executives, including Target's former chief digital officer, Jason Goldberger, have fled the retailer as it sees traffic dwindle at its outdated stores.
In the first quarter, Target saw its same-store sales slide 1.3% and its transactions decline 0.8%. Meanwhile, under McNamara's guidance, Target's digital sales spiked an eye-popping 22%. Last month, Target fired its chief innovation and strategy officer, Casey Carl, who once proposed that the company create a "store of the future," similar to the one Walmart is testing. But, Cornell shut the idea down, stating it was too far out of the retailer's reach.
While Cornell has approached innovation with hesitance, McNamara has taken it head on, continually launching new online capabilities, like Target Restock, to make the retailer's digital experience faster and more convenient. McNamara came to Target in 2015 after overseeing the technology efforts at British grocery and general merchandise retailer Tesco, a leading pioneer in omni-channel retail, for more than 15 years.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.