Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford has seen his role with the company expand to include overseeing government affairs and communications, reports Automotive News, freeing up the automaker’s new President and CEO, Jim Hackett, to concentrate on running the company.
It’s worth noting that Hackett, 62, has little experience in the automotive industry, having only joined Ford’s board of directors in 2013. He became Chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC in 2016, leaving that role when he was named President and CEO this month.
“I plan to be very active with Jim as a thought-partner,” Bill Ford told Automotive News. “I certainly am not going to be running the company; Jim will. We are in such interesting times, and there’s so many possibilities ahead of us, that I really want to be Jim’s thought-partner as we go through this.”
He said that the expansion of his role, which marks the first time he’ll have duties beyond those of Executive Chairman since he stepped down as CEO in 2006, was strategic, having nothing to do with criticism of the company’s communications.
“Government relations, so much of that is a long-term kind of thing,” Bill Ford said. “I’ve been around this company a long time, and hopefully will be here a long time. So it made sense to do that as well.”
Ford Vice President of Government and Community Relations Ziad Ojakli, and Vice President of Communications Mark Truby, will report directly to Bill Ford. Both Ojakli and Truby’s predecessor, Raymond Day, had reported to former CEO Mark Fields.
Bill Ford’s expanded role means that responding to criticism from shareholders or the Trump administration won’t fall to Hackett.