Ford Motor Company (F): Operational And Leadership Changes Announced

By Amit Chowdhry ● October 1, 2020
  • Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) announced changes in how it plans to streamline its global business by making changes in how the company is organized and operates. These are the details.

Today Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) announced changes in how it plans to streamline its global business by making changes in how the company is organized and operates. Today Jim Farley — who is succeeding Jim Hackett as Ford’s president and CEO — discussed the key goals and organizational changes during a virtual town hall meeting with the company’s global team.

Farley noted that Ford plans to move with urgency to turn around its automotive operations with an emphasis improving quality, reducing costs, and accelerating the restructuring of underperforming businesses.

And at the same time, Ford plans to grow by: 1.) Providing more capital, resources, and talent to its strongest businesses and vehicle franchises 2.) Expanding its leading commercial vehicle business with a suite of software services for driving loyalty and recurring revenue streams 3.) Offering compelling Ford fully electric vehicles at scale around the world, including Transit, F-Series, Mustang, SUVs and Lincoln 4.) Adding more affordable vehicles to its global lineup, including in North America and 5.) Standing up new customer-facing businesses enabled by Argo AI’s world-class self-driving system.

Ford is also going to make changes to its operating model to help deliver on these priorities. This includes concentrating decision-making and accountability around product and customer groups in 3 regional business units: The Americas and International Markets; Europe; and China. And the company will be accelerating innovation to be a leader in new businesses such as autonomous vehicles and mobility. Ford will also unleash technology and software in ways that set it apart from competitors. Plus Ford will embrace and increase the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and talent across the company

Farley pointed out that the company is targeting consistent operating performance that includes adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of 8% of revenue with strong automotive adjusted free cash flow so it can fully invest in customers and growth.

LEADERSHIP CHANGES

John Lawler is becoming CFO today and he will oversee the Finance and Ford Motor Credit organizations. Lawler is going to succeed Tim Stone, who has accepted a position as chief operating officer and chief financial officer at ASAPP — which is a research-driven, artificial-intelligence software company. Stone is going to remain with Ford through October 15 to ensure a smooth transition.

Lawler has most recently served as CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles and vice president, Mobility Partnerships. And he spent much of his 30 years at Ford in finance leadership and general management such as as president of Ford China for nearly four years. He also worked as corporate controller and CFO, Global Markets and head of worldwide strategy. Lawler’s successor in his current position — who will oversee the New Businesses group going forward — will be named later.

Ford’s chief information officer Jeff Lemmer will retire January 1 after 33 years with the company. And a successor for Lemmer as CIO — who will lead the Technology and Software platform — will be announced in the near future.

Ford also plans to strengthen its commitment to two key areas by having separate senior leaders run the Lincoln Motor Company and Global Marketing.

Joy Falotico — who has been president of Lincoln and Ford’s chief marketing officer for nearly three years — will be dedicated solely to further growing Ford’s luxury brand once a new chief marketing officer is named shortly. And she will report to Kumar Galhotra, president, The Americas and International Markets.

In Europe, Dale Wishnousky, vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe, will retire at the end of the year. Wishnousky’s career with the company started in 1987 and spanned key manufacturing and service leadership roles in multiple countries. Kieran Cahill, previously director, Manufacturing and Strategic Projects, Ford of Europe succeeds Wishnousky, effective immediately.

KEY QUOTES:

“During the past three years, under Jim Hackett’s leadership, we have made meaningful progress and opened the door to becoming a vibrant, profitably growing company. Now it’s time to charge through that door.”

“We are going to compete like a challenger – allocate capital to higher growth and return opportunities to create value – and earn customers for life through great products and a rewarding ownership experience.”

“John (Lawler) knows our company inside-out, has a clear view and great ambition for what Ford can be, and articulates what’s needed to get there. As CFO, he will help assure we have the means to fund those ambitions.”

“Tim (Stone) has been a powerful voice inside the company pushing us all to persistently focus on our customers and what they want and need. He also played a critical leadership role in guiding the company through the COVID-19 crisis. We thank Tim for his contributions and wish him the best.”

“Jeff (Lemmer) has been an outstanding leader at Ford and that was never truer than this year, when he and the IT team kept our company fully connected and operational during the pandemic. Ford shifted more than 100,000 people around the world to remote work virtually overnight because of COVID-19, and our information systems haven’t missed a beat.”

— Jim Farley

“This change will allow Joy to focus on accelerating Lincoln’s global growth through great vehicles and services and a truly differentiated customer experience. Lincoln’s completely refreshed lineup is resonating with customers in the U.S. as well as in China, where we are now producing the Lincoln Aviator and Corsair locally, for Chinese customers – and that’s just the beginning.”

— Joy Falotico