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Ford Fires CEO Mark Fields

Ford Fires CEO Mark Fields

It’s been no secret Ford Motor Company shareholders are antsy over the company’s lagging stock price. Apparently the board of directors feels the same, because CEO Mark Fields has been fired from the company. Fields will be replaced by Jim Hackett, the current head of Ford Smart Mobility, LLC and former Steelcase CEO.

According to Forbes Ford Chairman Bill Ford lost confidence in Mark Fields after the company seemed to lack a comprehensive strategy. Fields has served as CEO since July 2014, when he assumed the ranks from rockstar CEO Alan Mulally. Fields has spent nearly his entire career at Ford, last serving as the company’s head of the America’s region.

In addition to Fields, it is reported certain senior executives will be assuming larger roles in the company. Those executives include Jim Farley and Joseph Hinrichs. Ford has also offer those two and a few other senior leaders retention offers in recent weeks, including product boss Raj Nair.

Ray Day, Ford’s communications boss, is also leaving the company. Day is being replaced by Mark Truby, vice president of communications for Ford’s Asia-Pacific operations.

Despite record breaking profits in recent years, investors have lacked confidence in Ford under Fields’ management. The company’s stock price has dropped 40 percent since 2014 and investors feel the business is eroding with weakening market share.

 





 

About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. CmicasatheGreatXvX
    Tone
    That depends on what you think the next decade will hold. Right now, there's a pretty wide band of scenarios that could play out, depending on how quickly the tech around fully autonomous vehicles becomes reliable and affordable. Then the next question will be business models and customer acceptance.

    Let's assume the rosier scenarios that full autonomy is just around the corner and will be affordable and reliable. Then, let's assume that many people look at on-demand services (which could theoretically offer most of the convenience of car ownership at a lower cost, at least in urban areas). Let's say that quickly cuts the market for new cars in developed markets by a third (even autonomous cars have to be produced) but radically reduces growth in emerging markets like China, where the lack of a history of car ownership makes it much more likely that more of the market will shift to on-demand and thus that's where the growth will go. Moreover, lets assume that most of on-demand autonomous vehicles are BEVs, as most of the issues (range anxiety, recharging) are more easily handled in fleets.

    Who is better positioned for this world? Ford or GM? GM already has a 200+ BEV in market and is already working hard on autonomous technologies (including for the Bolt). It owns a chunk of a on-demand service (Lyft) and has an infrastructure for interacting with customers in-car (OnStar). Ford's pure electric is a generation back and seems to been produced as a compliance vehicle. While Ford has talked a ton about mobility services, I'm still not sure what compelling service they offer today, nor what they plan to do in the future.

    The reality is that it will take more time for autonomous technologies to get all the way there -- my gut is closer to 2030 than 2020, and there still may be some bumps along the way (e.g. insurance alone might prove to be a roadblock that slows wide adoptions). Even then, GM is pruning low growth opportunities to be able to have the funds to pursue conventional and non-conventional (like autonomous) business opportunities. Ford's promised Bolt competitor won't be here until 2020; but then GM will be on the next generation.

    If all these promised technologies prove much tougher to commercialize, GM still does well in trucks, mid-sized sedans and CUVs and has focused their attention on markets where they are at least competitive. Ford has left a bunch of vehicle on the vine for a bit too long (Edge, Escape -- two vehicles in hot markets that are getting a little long in the tooth to name two). They are going to have to spend on existing product and next generation technologies at the same time just to stay competitive.

    What am I missing?


    Nothing. I think your post is spot on.

    Opel was a losing proposition.. It holds no tech that GM doesn't have banked for the next decade.

    Opel/Vaux engineering is still GM engineering. I will add that the true benefit having them was specifically to cater to certain aspects of Euro market.. outside of that market their necessity drops. I will also add that in terms of chassis development, engines, styling, and quality control.. the NA hub has been spectacular in the last decade on its own. GM might actually end up making more money in the next 2 years off of Opel/Vaux that they would have in 2020 due to the fact that PSA does have to pay them licensing. OH.. and that "Non-Compete" with Chevy markets includes U.S. and China from what I read.

    In the end scenario sales being lost due to the sale of Opel at this point will have little effect on Buick or Holden simply because the engineering on those products are GM's.. they are not property of Opel. Furthermore I'd put American engineering up against the European any day of the week.. especially now. The only real loss will be that of 1.1 Million cars. This will effectively put them behind Renault/Nissan, or make them #4... but even with that.. GM made $12 Billion last year AFTER a loss of almost $1B in Europe. Cadillac getting highest ATPs in its segment... GMC/Denali.. Buick/Avista.. these are the things that will prove to be the reasons why GM is now becoming a Profit maker on the cusp of VW/AUDI/Porsche. GM.. could make even more of GMC.. that's the other brand that fools back in 2009 said should go along with Buick.
    2b2
    just-imho,

    seeing that Zeppelins ran commercially for about 27 years wiki

    until ended one day by the deaths of 36 people wiki



    wherefore autonoM.O.U.S.E.y ??
    Ed753
    nsaporito
    In terms of a lifer employee of a domestic automaker turning around the corporate culture...yes, she is absolutely the one to emulate.

    Now, both Ford and GM have a big task afoot: prove they can modify their business models to a market that doesn't necessarily buy vehicles for personal use.


    Assuming that is the correct thing to do?

    nsaporito
    I'd argue the opposite. GM selling off Opel and other global assets isn't a method of quick cash; it's a realization that the business of building automobiles is a dying one.


    GM selling Opel 10 years ago would have been bold and out of the box, even 5 years ago, selling it today not-so-much......

    Tone
    That depends on what you think the next decade will hold. Right now, there's a pretty wide band of scenarios that could play out, depending on how quickly the tech around fully autonomous vehicles becomes reliable and affordable. Then the next question will be business models and customer acceptance.

    Let's assume the rosier scenarios that full autonomy is just around the corner and will be affordable and reliable. Then, let's assume that many people look at on-demand services (which could theoretically offer most of the convenience of car ownership at a lower cost, at least in urban areas). Let's say that quickly cuts the market for new cars in developed markets by a third (even autonomous cars have to be produced) but radically reduces growth in emerging markets like China, where the lack of a history of car ownership makes it much more likely that more of the market will shift to on-demand and thus that's where the growth will go. Moreover, lets assume that most of on-demand autonomous vehicles are BEVs, as most of the issues (range anxiety, recharging) are more easily handled in fleets.

    Who is better positioned for this world? Ford or GM? GM already has a 200+ BEV in market and is already working hard on autonomous technologies (including for the Bolt). It owns a chunk of a on-demand service (Lyft) and has an infrastructure for interacting with customers in-car (OnStar). Ford's pure electric is a generation back and seems to been produced as a compliance vehicle. While Ford has talked a ton about mobility services, I'm still not sure what compelling service they offer today, nor what they plan to do in the future.

    The reality is that it will take more time for autonomous technologies to get all the way there -- my gut is closer to 2030 than 2020, and there still may be some bumps along the way (e.g. insurance alone might prove to be a roadblock that slows wide adoptions). Even then, GM is pruning low growth opportunities to be able to have the funds to pursue conventional and non-conventional (like autonomous) business opportunities. Ford's promised Bolt competitor won't be here until 2020; but then GM will be on the next generation.

    If all these promised technologies prove much tougher to commercialize, GM still does well in trucks, mid-sized sedans and CUVs and has focused their attention on markets where they are at least competitive. Ford has left a bunch of vehicle on the vine for a bit too long (Edge, Escape -- two vehicles in hot markets that are getting a little long in the tooth to name two). They are going to have to spend on existing product and next generation technologies at the same time just to stay competitive.

    What am I missing?


    Well put Tone, much the way I look it too; going from a brisk-walk or slow-jog to a full-sprint only gets you to the end-goal if you are going in the right direction in the first place.... I look no further than where EV's have gone (or not gone) over the last almost decade; sure they've gotten better and cheaper, but for the vast majority of people, they are a non-starter, even with the $7,500 tax credit. Typically technology changes the way we do things, rarely does it (dramatically) change the things we do.
    Tone
    2b2
    ^ I didn't understand that^, AR

    see, that all sounds like Today&Tomorrow stuff not real NextGen/2020+

    which, I agree Fomoco's done a ^poor job of keeping buyers(of vehicles OR stock)'s attention

    yet

    I've somehow gotten the impression that GM is taking care of 'this-week' at the expense of next-decade


    That depends on what you think the next decade will hold. Right now, there's a pretty wide band of scenarios that could play out, depending on how quickly the tech around fully autonomous vehicles becomes reliable and affordable. Then the next question will be business models and customer acceptance.

    Let's assume the rosier scenarios that full autonomy is just around the corner and will be affordable and reliable. Then, let's assume that many people look at on-demand services (which could theoretically offer most of the convenience of car ownership at a lower cost, at least in urban areas). Let's say that quickly cuts the market for new cars in developed markets by a third (even autonomous cars have to be produced) but radically reduces growth in emerging markets like China, where the lack of a history of car ownership makes it much more likely that more of the market will shift to on-demand and thus that's where the growth will go. Moreover, lets assume that most of on-demand autonomous vehicles are BEVs, as most of the issues (range anxiety, recharging) are more easily handled in fleets.

    Who is better positioned for this world? Ford or GM? GM already has a 200+ BEV in market and is already working hard on autonomous technologies (including for the Bolt). It owns a chunk of a on-demand service (Lyft) and has an infrastructure for interacting with customers in-car (OnStar). Ford's pure electric is a generation back and seems to been produced as a compliance vehicle. While Ford has talked a ton about mobility services, I'm still not sure what compelling service they offer today, nor what they plan to do in the future.

    The reality is that it will take more time for autonomous technologies to get all the way there -- my gut is closer to 2030 than 2020, and there still may be some bumps along the way (e.g. insurance alone might prove to be a roadblock that slows wide adoptions). Even then, GM is pruning low growth opportunities to be able to have the funds to pursue conventional and non-conventional (like autonomous) business opportunities. Ford's promised Bolt competitor won't be here until 2020; but then GM will be on the next generation.

    If all these promised technologies prove much tougher to commercialize, GM still does well in trucks, mid-sized sedans and CUVs and has focused their attention on markets where they are at least competitive. Ford has left a bunch of vehicle on the vine for a bit too long (Edge, Escape -- two vehicles in hot markets that are getting a little long in the tooth to name two). They are going to have to spend on existing product and next generation technologies at the same time just to stay competitive.

    What am I missing?
    2b2
    nsaporito
    I'd argue the opposite. GM selling off Opel and other global assets isn't a method of quick cash; it's a realization that the business of building automobiles is a dying one.


    hmm...

    I see Europe and India and S.Africa as examples of what GM is NOT going to do in the future

    &

    finished 'LAST WEEK'

    so what ARE they actually *working* on?
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