Ford CEO Jim Hackett Explains His Decision To Retire One Year Early

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Needless to say, it came as a surprise to many when Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced his retirement earlier this week. After all, Hackett accepted the position just over three years ago, and had another year to go before he planned to move on to his post-executive life. While some will undoubtedly speculate as to why Hackett would retire one year early, he was happy to explain his big decision in a recent conversation with the Detroit Free Press.

Jim Hackett
Jim Hackett

Hackett spoke at length about Ford’s uncomfortable transformation over the last few years, a process that brought about some interesting revelations. “What I got to witness in that is the best ally I had beyond Bill (Ford Jr., executive chairman) was Jim Farley,” Hackett said. “He never ever complained about the change, he leaned into all of it. In fact, during the COVID crisis, he emerges as a leader. That explains, ‘why now.'”

“I didn’t expect the pandemic,” Hackett continued. “What crisis does is it exposes real core talent. There’s no choreographed game plan. I got to witness Jim Farley. I thought, one more year just delays what Bill and I and the board thought – that Jim could take control of next year’s plan, really secure the execution of that. It’s just wiser to do it now. That was the thinking behind ‘let’s do it,’ so that Jim can plan 2021.”

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Jim Hackett and Jim Farley

Farley, a 13 year Ford veteran, also expressed confidence in Ford’s future. “First of all, I’m very optimistic. We have momentum as a company,” Farley said. “The transition will be well-planned and smooth. We really have a great view of where we can grow the company profitably and the intersection between technology and traditional products.”

“Yes, there’s always things to be concerned about,” he continued. “The global economy, COVID, a long list of things. But I guess I would turn around a little bit and say what I think about is the opportunity that we can go after. I’d phrase it differently than a concern. We don’t want to miss the opportunity that we see in front of us, that Jim (Hackett) has helped to build a foundation.”

We’ll have more on Ford’s CEO transition soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford business news and continuous Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. One of the worst auto executive in the history of the auto industry was probably told to retire or be fired by the Ford family, his performance was worse than mediocre, hopefully his successor will not be a carbon copy of him. If for some reason his successor turns out to be like him, then this poorly managed company will continue down the path of disaster.

  2. FORD needs to go BACK to the drawing board and turn the page Real Fast, If Jim Farley follows in the foot steps of Jim Hackett both needs to be shown the door now. So FORD can get back to the business of listening to the American people and building sedans. If FORD want to sale Trucks and SUVs go for it, you have plenty under this Brand to sale. Lincoln’s market is Audi BMW Jaguar Infiniti Lexus Mercedes Benz etc. all of which sales sedans. Chrysler/ Dodge can sale Trucks SUV Sedans and Coupes so explain to me again why Lincoln and Cadillac don’t know or understand the market to be Successful in building Luxury Sedans

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