Mark Fields has led Ford for almostÂ 3 years (Photo: Ford Motor)
Ford Motor announced Monday that its CEO, Mark Fields, is being replaced, following a sharp decline in the carmaker's share price over the past two years.
Fields, who took the helm at Ford in January 2014, will be succeeded by Jim Hackett, the former Steelcase CEO who currently is in charge of Ford's smart mobility initiatives. Steelcase is a largeÂ office furniture group.
Ford said in a press release that Hackett will have three priorities: "Sharpening operational execution, modernizing Ford's present business and transforming the company to meet tomorrow's challenges."
CIO Marcy Klevorn will take over Hackett's duties as executive vice president and president, Mobility. AndÂ Paul Ballew has been appointed vice president chief data and analytics officer, reporting to Klevorn.
Fields, a Ford Motor veteran who has held a range of national and international management positions at the carmaker, has led a strategic reorientation of the groupÂ from a pure automaker to a software and mobility servicesÂ company.
But the new mobility initiatives require heavy investment and aren't yet contributing to group revenue.
Unit sales slipped in the first quarter of 2017, after strong sales ofÂ 2,614,697 vehicles in 2016. That was the company's best sales result in 10 years.
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said Hackett is the right CEO to lead the company through the transformation the auto industry is currently undergoing.
"He's a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services," Bill Ford said.
Some experts said a new CEO is unlikely to change the fundamental outlook for Ford in the near to medium term.
"Ford has no plausible approach towards mobility and e-vehicles yet and lags behind General MotorsÂ in that respect," Christian Stadler, a strategy professor at Britain's Warwick Business School, said in a statement. "The crucial point is that changing the CEO is not likely to change this."
Ford is betting too much on the crucial role of the CEO, Stadler said.
Hackett will have to make progress in the areas of self-driving cars and electric vehicles to change the outlook for Ford. "He might do that well," Stadler said, "but Fields would probably have taken similar steps."
Ford also announced several other changes to its senior management. Jim Farley, bossÂ of its European operations since January 2015, will head up global markets, overseeing the carmaker's global business units. Farley will also leadÂ Ford's strategy and business model development for electric and autonomous vehicles.
Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford's Americas division, will oversee global operations, including product development, manufacturing, quality and purchasing.
-By Arjen Bongard