Jim Hackett Nearly Declined To Take CEO Role Last Year

Jim Hackett
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Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett, who succeeded Mark Fields in both those roles in May, 2017, very nearly didn’t accept the offer to lead Ford Motor Company, he revealed in an interview at the Automotive News World Congress this week. Hackett, 62, had been Chairman of Ford’s Smart Mobility subsidiary when Fields was ousted, and had retired from his position as CEO of furniture maker Steelcase three years prior.

“I needed time with my family and a deep moment to think about it,” Jim Hackett said Tuesday. “These aren’t hobbies, running a big company.”

He said that, in the end, it was his family that convinced him to accept the CEO title. His wife Kathy told him that by the time he turned 75, he’d regret not accepting, and each of his two sons wrote him letters outlining why he should agree to lead America’s second-biggest automaker. One letter was about leaders who’d made a real difference after the age of 62, and the other was about what the automotive industry could look like in the future.

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“I’m so happy about saying yes,” Jim Hackett said. “Everything that was hesitant was gone. I’m so excited about what we can do in this business.”

Hackett’s strategy as CEO so far has been characterized by commitments to bolstering financial fitness by slashing operating costs, leveling the corporate hierarchy, and investing into crossovers, electrification, and mobility. Some have accused the CEO of being too vague in his addresses to analysts, investors, and the media, although Ford’s share value has trended upward since he started in the role.

Ford shares closed at $13.10 on Tuesday – up from $11.10 when Hackett was announced CEO – before sliding 7 percent today following news that Ford is projecting lower profits this year than it earned in 2017.

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(Source: Automotive News)

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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