Ford set to fire CEO Mark Fields as shares founder

Image used for representational purpose only

Image used for representational purpose only

Reports suggest that Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields has been replaced by the head of Ford Smart Mobility Subsidiary LLC James P. Hackett.

Fields has been unable to impress the automaker's board and investors with plans for reversing Ford's fortunes. "We do not comment on speculation or rumors", a Ford spokesman said in response to CNBC's emailed request for comment. The report has no information regarding Mark Field's next career move.

As recently as last week, Fields, 56, had been trying to strengthen Ford's bottom line by cutting 1,400 salaried jobs.

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Hackett, 62, revived the fortunes of office furniture maker Steelcase as CEO from 1994 to 2014 and his promotion indicates Ford is looking to seize on that expertise as consumer demands change. Ford's stock price has fallen nearly 40 percent since Fields became CEO in July 2014.

Fields joined Ford in 1989 and led sales and marketing activities of Mazda Motor Corporation, then owned by Ford. Mr. Farley, meanwhile, helped deliver more than $1 billion in profit in Europe past year, with the favorable result coming as GM exited that region due to persistent losses and a lack of confidence in its German Opel unit.

In three years as CEO, Fields began Ford's transition from a traditional automaker into a "mobility" company, laying out plans to build autonomous vehicles and explore new services such as ride-hailing and car-sharing.

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The change came less than two weeks after Fields was sharply criticised during Ford's annual shareholders meeting for the company's deteriorating financial results. In this role, Hinrichs will oversee Ford's global Product Development; Manufacturing and Labor Affairs; Quality; Purchasing; and Sustainability, Environmental and Safety Engineering; Hinrichs has been serving as Ford executive vice president and president, The Americas, since December 2012. Ford is promising to have a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2021.

Among Fields' bets on technology is a plan to invest $1 billion over the next five years in tech startup Argo AI.

At the same time, GM is turning up the pressure on Ford in the North American truck and sport utility business, the source of 90 percent of Ford's profits. When the market capitalizations of Ford and GM were individually surpassed by automotive upstart Tesla Inc.'s earlier in this year, it underscored how far behind Detroit is perceived to be in the race to develop new technology.

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Fields earned $22.1 million in 2016.

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