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Ford Motor Co. announced that Jim Farley, head of new business, technology and strategy, will be promoted to chief operating officer, and Joe Hinrichs, president of its automotive division and a 19-year Ford veteran, will retire effective March 1.
The automaker’s surprise announcement comes days after it missed fourth-quarter earnings targets and issued disappointing profit guidance for 2020. Ford CEO Jim Hackett, who has led the company for almost three years, has been criticized by Wall Street for moving too slowly on an $11 billion global restructuring plan.
Farley joined Ford in 2007 as global head of marketing and sales from Toyota where he served in various roles since 1990. He has led Ford’s Lincoln brand, Ford South America, Ford of Europe and all of the company’s global markets. Since April, Farley has led Ford’s new businesses, technology & strategy team with responsibility for the company’s electric and autonomous car efforts and other long-term bets for disrupting the auto industry. In his new role, Farley will take over much of Hinrich’s duties and oversee all of Ford’s global markets and automotive operations, Ford Smart Mobility and autonomous vehicles. He will report to Hackett.
“Jim Farley is the right person to take on this important new role,” Hackett said in a company statement. “Jim’s passion for great vehicles and his intense drive for results are well known. He also has developed into a transformational leader with the imagination and foresight to help lead Ford into the future.”
Hinrich’s retirement as president of Ford’s automotive operations, a role he was appointed to just last April, was unexpected. Hackett thanked Hinrich in a statement for “his tremendous leadership over the past two decades.”
The automaker also announced that Hau Thai-Tang, chief product development and purchasing officer, will assume an expanded role and report to Farley. Thai-Tang will continue to lead Product Development and Purchasing, while adding responsibility for enterprise product line management and connectivity, according to the company.