The former Steelcase (SCS - Get Report) CEO and turnaround specialist will replace Ford CEO Mark Fields effective immediately. But, Hackett could certainly pull a page from the tech-focused Tesla to help jump-start Ford.
"Look for Ford to present itself as an AI, Machine Learning, Big Data, Tech Firm," Morgan Stanley Adam Jonas wrote in a new note. "Some investors may be skeptical. It all comes down to the execution and time."
Shares rose 2.2% to $11.1 in Monday trading as investors cheered what could be a cost-cutting focused Ford under Hackett. Ford didn't hide in its statement detailing Hackett's appointment that one of his main goals is to "strengthen operations."
"Hackett is seen as instrumental in anticipating consumer change in turning around Steelcase," points out Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois.
"We need a transformational leader," Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. said at the news conference. Ford added that the company must "re-energize" its business and focus on improving shareholder returns. He also said Ford's bureaucratic culture is an issue.
"There is still an obsession with hierarchy," Ford said, adding that the focus on one's position inside the company may be hurting decision-making.
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Editor's Pick: Originally published May 22.
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