Ford CEO Jim Hackett Shuffles Senior Executive Ranks

By Mike Colias Features Dow Jones Newswires

Ford Motor Co. chief executive Jim Hackett is shaking up his senior leadership team five months into the job, moves that could help him forge a fresh path for the nation's No. 2 auto maker.

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The moves announced Tuesday include a number of departures, including John Casesa, 55, a longtime investment banker and auto analyst who was brought in under former CEO Mark Fields in early 2015. Mr. Casesa had been tasked with steering Ford's investment into new products and technologies.

Mr. Casesa's role won't be directly filled, a company spokeswoman said. Finance chief Bob Shanks will assume responsibility for global strategy, working closely with Mr. Hackett and Ford Chairman Bill Ford, she said.

The appointments, most of which take effect Jan. 1, start to round out an executive team that took shape when Mr. Hackett took the top job in May. His top lieutenants include Jim Farley, who is in charge of global markets; Joe Hinrichs, who is running global operations; and Marcy Klevorn, head of Ford's mobility division, a key unit that is exploring ways to commercialize transportation services.

Ford's board installed Mr. Hackett in May after ousting Mr. Fields amid questions about Ford's direction. Mr. Hackett has said he wants to speed decision making and "attack" costs at Ford, targeting $14 billion in annual savings within five years. Earlier this month he briefed investors on broad plans to accelerate Ford's development of autonomous vehicles and electric cars, though his outline left some wanting more specifics.

Ford's share price is flat this year while rival General Motors Co. has sped forward in recent months amid investor enthusiasm for its driverless-car program and other advanced technology.

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GM shares hit a 52-week high Tuesday after the auto maker reported a third-quarter $3 billion loss related to the sale of its European business but posted operating profit that beat analysts' forecasts. Ford is set to report third-quarter results on Thursday.

Ford also expanded the role of Kumar Galhotra, who has been head of the Lincoln luxury brand for the past three years. Mr. Galhotra will continue to lead Lincoln while also taking on the role of Ford's chief marketing officer, replacing Stephen Odell, 62, who is retiring.

The departures include a number of key appointees who ascended during the tenure of former CEO Alan Mulally, who was succeeded by Mr. Fields in 2014.

Also leaving is Bennie Fowler, 62, a vice president who has overseen Ford's product quality and new-model launches since 2010. He will be replaced by Linda Cash, 55, a company veteran who most recently has been running the company's European manufacturing operations.

Human resources head Felicia Fields, 52, will retire after more than 30 years at the company, Ford said. She will be replaced on an interim basis by Kiersten Robinson, 47, an executive director in HR.

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 24, 2017 13:26 ET (17:26 GMT)