To date, we’ve heard very little in regards to what new Ford CEO Jim Farley has in store for the 117 year-old automaker, outside of his desire to monetize connected vehicle services and his willingness to seek input from all levels of the organization. Today, however, The Blue Oval’s new leader outlined his key goals and organizational changes during a virtual town hall meeting with the company’s global team.
Farley said Ford plans to move with urgency to turn around its automotive operations by improving quality, reducing costs, and accelerating the restructuring of underperforming businesses. The overall goal is to make changes in how the company is organized and operates to deliver executional excellence that benefits customers and delivers sustained profitable growth.
Farley’s growth strategy for Ford consists of a few key points. They include allocating more capital, resources, and talent to the automaker’s strongest businesses and vehicle franchises. Farley also wants to expand Ford’s leading commercial vehicle business with a suite of software services that drive loyalty and recurring revenue streams, as he recently outlined.
Farley wants to offer compelling, uniquely Ford fully electric vehicles at scale around the world, including the Ford Transit, Ford F-Series, Ford Mustang, SUVs, and Lincoln models. As we reported earlier today, this plan also includes adding more affordable vehicles to Ford’s global lineup, including in North America, and standing up new customer-facing businesses enabled by Argo AI’s world-class self-driving system.
Ford is also making changes to its operating model to help deliver on these priorities. These efforts include concentrating decision-making and accountability around product and customer groups in three regional business units – The Americas and International Markets, Europe, and China.
Farley also wants to accelerate innovation to be a leader in new businesses such as autonomous vehicles and mobility, and harness expertise in industrial platforms to develop world-class connected vehicles. Finally, the new CEO aims to unleash technology and software in ways that set Ford apart from competitors, and embrace and increase the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and talent across the company.
Farley said the company is targeting consistent operating performance that includes adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of 8 percent of revenue with strong automotive adjusted free cash flow, so the company can fully invest in customers and growth.
In addition to these action items, Ford has also announced a handful of key leadership changes. John Lawler has been named CFO, replacing Tim Stone, who who has accepted a position as chief operating officer and chief financial officer at ASAPP Inc. Jeff Lemmer, Ford’s chief information officer, will retire January 1st after 33 years with the company. A successor for Lemmer as CIO, who will lead the Technology and Software platform, will be announced in the near future.
Joy Falotico, who has been president of Lincoln and Ford’s chief marketing officer for nearly three years, will be dedicated solely to further growing Ford’s luxury brand once a new chief marketing officer is named. She will report to Kumar Galhotra, president, The Americas and International Markets.
Separately, in Europe, Dale Wishnousky, vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe, will retire at the end of the year. His career with the company started in 1987 and spanned key manufacturing and service leadership roles in multiple countries. Kieran Cahill, previously director, Manufacturing and Strategic Projects, Ford of Europe, succeeds Wishnousky.
“During the past three years, under Jim Hackett’s leadership, we have made meaningful progress and opened the door to becoming a vibrant, profitably growing company,” said new Ford CEO Farley. “Now it’s time to charge through that door. We are going to compete like a challenger – allocate capital to higher growth and return opportunities to create value – and earn customers for life through great products and a rewarding ownership experience.”