pThe drama surrounding Ford Motor Company’s recent ousting of CEO Mark Fields is beginning to bubble up to the surface. A new report from Automotive News sheds further light on the sequence of events that ultimately led to Fields’ demise from the company, including his plan to deflect pressure from the Ford board to someone else.
The report, citing anonymous sources, says Fields was planning to fire Joe Hinrichs in the days leading up to his own ousting. Hinrichs has served as Ford’s chief of the Americas region since 2012. The sources claim Fields felt like firing Hinrichs would deflect pressure he himself was getting from the board of directors regarding Ford’s operating performance.
Of course it is unknown if such a plan would have ever panned out. Hinrichs has overseen a division of Ford that has seen record profits under his tenure and successfully launched the aluminum F-150. Basically there were no obvious reasons to scrutinize Hinrichs’ performance other than recent sales declines in the U.S. market.
Fields allegedly went to the Ford board of directors on May 14th to seek approval to remove Hinrichs. Instead of getting approval for that, he was met with a board who was ready to part ways with him instead. The board ultimately promoted Jim Hackett to the CEO spot, replacing Fields.
As for Hinrichs? He was promoted under the recent executive shuffle as well, serving in the newly minted role of president of global operations, overseeing product development and manufacturing.
Ford has declined to comment on what it calls rumor and speculation.