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Ford CEO Jim Hackett retires after three years in top job

Jim Farley, Ford's chief operating officer, will step into the CEO role in the coming months.

Three years was enough for Hackett.


On Tuesday, Ford announced CEO Jim Hackett, the man charged with righting the Blue Oval's ship and guiding it toward the future, will retire.

Hackett moved to the top position after the surprise ousting of then-CEO Mark Fields at Ford in 2017. As the outgoing CEO of the Blue Oval, Hackett oversaw a flurry of investments into electric vehicles, mobility and autonomous cars. In the announcement, Hackett said his top priority was to "prepare Ford to win in the future."

"I'm very proud of how far we have come in creating a modern Ford and I am very optimistic about the future," he added in a statement. The decision comes as Ford undergoes a transformation to the tune of $11 billion, which hasn't lit a spark on Wall Street thus far. Shares of Ford are down almost 40% as of Monday since Hackett stepped in as CEO.

It will be a short legacy for Hackett, but it's hard to draw any major conclusions right away.

Under Hackett, Ford made big decisions to shape its future. The CEO sent nearly all of the automaker's passenger cars to the automotive graveyard in a move, while controversial to this day, appears to have paid off. With the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Taurus out, Ford continues to make room for new crossovers, SUVs and likely an even smaller pickup truck to sit under the Ranger as a new entry-level model. The Mustang remains Ford's only passenger car sold in the US.

He also moved Ford to rally around "icons." Under his leadership, Hackett pushed the automaker to not only dump underperforming cars, but created subsets we'll see Ford continue to build out. The 2021 Ford Bronco and Mustang Mach-E both serve as guiding lights for Ford moving forward. The Bronco fills the top icon position, while the Bronco Sport expands the historic nameplate to new areas. As for the Mustang Mach-E, it helps pave the way for future electrification from the pony car. Indeed, Hackett was also instrumental in pivoting the EV project, which became the Mustang Mach-E, to a wilder, performance-oriented side.

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While Hackett's ascension was a tad unorthodox inside Ford, his replacement, Jim Farley's, is far more traditional. He currently holds the chief operating officer position but joined Ford in 2007 in a global sales and marketing role. He's since led the Lincoln division, Ford of Europe and other divisions before landing as head of Ford's new business segment responsible for software, AI and more.

Farley and Hackett will work together in the next couple months to smooth the former's transition into the CEO role. Hackett will officially step down Oct. 1, though he plans to remain in a special advisor role to Ford through March 2021.