Why was Ford CEO Mark Fields fired - err, retired?

Ford World Headquarters Building Dearborn Michigan

Hackett, 62, has a long track record of innovation, including his tenure as CEO of furniture company Steelcase and as interim athletic director at the University of MI, where he was credited with sealing the deal to hire Jim Harbaugh as head coach of the football team.

Hackett is the right kind of CEO both to make day-to-day decisions and link them to the future, said David Kelley, IDEO's founder, who introduced Hackett to Jobs and other Silicon Valley leaders including Inuit Inc.'s Scott Cook.

Reporting to executive chairman Bill Ford, Hackett will lead Ford's worldwide operations and 202,000 employees globally.

Hackett himself remarked that he hoped that his tenure as Ford CEO would be transformative for the company. Profits in the first quarter dropped sharply, and the company's share price has dropped almost 40 percent since Fields took over. Still, shareholders don't like falling stock prices.

As Mulally's chosen successor, Mark Fields, the chief operating officer, would surely grab the baton from his predecessor and keep running in the same direction. The stock is down in a period of up auto sales. Still, GM faces unhappy investors of its own with its stock slightly below the $33 initial public offering price from November 2010.

In this role, Klevorn will oversee Ford Smart Mobility, which was formed a year ago to accelerate the company's plans to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services, as well as information technology and global data, insight and analytics.

A former executive at Boeing, Mulally became CEO of Ford at a time of crisis for the company and the industry. It's a big bet on one of the company's most profitable products.

"We have to re-energize our business, including sharpening some of our execution", Ford said.

Alan Mulally and Mark Fields

Ford hasn't gone into detail on how a vehicles' technological systems could generate revenue, but the company is investing heavily to boost manpower and technical capabilities to sell and market a deluge of data expected to be collected from self-driving and connected cars. The U.S. auto market is expected to slow this year.

In its bid to streamline the decision-making process, the company has restructured some of its operations, with three new positions that will report to Hackett. The icon is also battling a new cadre of would-be transportation players who have Detroit on edge.

So why retool a company based on something so removed from its fundamentals?

Hackett is making clear that he will keep a close eye on the automotive business, which was responsible for 90 percent of Ford's $10.4 billion pretax profit a year ago. He's the guy who was brought on to revive the University of Michigan's football team, snagging Jim Harbaugh. And it's doubly dramatic when that company is a 114-year-old staple of American industry. Not only has he been around the company since 2013, first as a board member and then as the head of the mobility subsidiary Fields created previous year, he also is universally revered by University of MI football fans for a brief run as the school's interim athletic director.

What he said: "What (Ford) doesn't do as well, it doesn't handle, is when there's lots of complex strategy questions".

Caldwell was the first CEO of Ford who wasn't a member of the Ford Family. Ultimately, failing to take care of business today cost Fields his future at Ford. But since then, its overall revenue has steadily climbed upward - from $116 billion in the worst of the economic collapse to $152 billion in 2016.

November 2015: Ford reaches a new contract with the United Auto Workers union.

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