Former Ford CEO Mark Fields has resigned after falling stock prices and falling stockholder confidence. This comes after he was harshly judged for chasing the likes of Tesla and “Thinking like a startup.” And while that may seem like a good idea to an up-and-coming company, it can be a faux-pas for an established brand like Ford. Fields also sent the stock prices for Ford pummelling – so much so that the company was actually surpassed by the aforementioned Tesla in market value and stock price, last month.
In the video above, Courtesy of CNBC, we learn that Fields wasn’t fired, despite the companies current hardships that some blamed him for.
He is being replaced by James Hacket, former Steelcase CEO/U of Michigan Director of Athletics. Hacket is known around Silicon Valley as a “turnaround expert,” which could definitely help the company to pick up their pace when compared to the likes of GM and chevy, who both recovered far more quickly than ford after the auto crisis.
The change is therefore coming at a tumultuous time for Ford, but I’m not sure if the company could have given Fields more time. Personally, three years seems like a very small window for a person to turn around a large automotive manufacturer like Ford. The company employs over 201,000 people, and operates on a global scale. It’s one of the oldest companies in America, too.
I also personally don’t think that he was too off the mark in looking to chase down Tesla and Uber. Autonomous movement and autonomous vehicles are the future. I personally am not a fan of the concept, but one has to admit that they are coming up quickly, and will be a fantastic investment opportunity when it does enter the mainstream. Even automotive mechanics and collision repairers are getting ready for the oncoming onslaught of autonomous mobility. GM, for example, recently announced their approval for pre- and post-repair scans – a tool specialized to autonomous and highly computerized vehicles. Japanese companies have been investing in the technology heavily for the last few years – predating their Americans counterparts.
That said, I can definitely see why people weren’t big fans of Fields as CEO. Just before resigning, and potentially one of the main reasons for his resignation, was his firing of over 1,400 white-collar workers. Rather than trying internally to save money by better manufacturing practices or by creating better products that more people would want to buy, he tried to save face by firing other people. This isn’t a very good business practice in my opinion – though I understand that I have no formal experience in the subject.
Ford isn’t the only company who are making waves in the world of cars. GM recently made waves by announcing they were pulling out of the massive Indian market. This put an end to more than 15,000 jobs, and is being widely regarded as an awful move. Despite the fact that the automotive marque wasn’t the most popular company in the country, it was still a massive shock to investors. I personally am wondering if GM is going to follow suit in naming a new CEO. I say this because the move out of India is being widely regarded as a mistake. In addition, current GM CEO Mary Barra has only been CEO as long as now-former CEO Fields of Ford.