Ford Motor Company announced last Monday that Jim Hackett, former University of Michigan interim athletic director, will become the automaker’s new CEO. Although the decision was rather sudden, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford told the Detroit Free Press he believes it was time for change.
This change in leadership has been described as rather abrupt as former CEO Mark Fields held the position for just under three years.
Bill Ford acknowledged Fields’ accomplishments; however, he also mentioned flaws in Fields’ decision-making and communication skills, adding on that Ford’s stock price has declined 40 percent since Fields became the CEO.
Ford said he has tremendous faith in Hackett — whom he got to know as Hackett became a member of Ford’s board of directors and a chairman of Ford Smart Mobility.
Hackett has a long track record of innovation as the CEO of Steelcase and as interim athletic director at the University of Michigan.
He was appointed Athletic Director by University President Mark Schlissel in October 2014, following the resignation of Dave Brandon; Brandon resigned after a controversial five years in the position. Hackett, a University alum, played on the football team as well.
Hackett's time as Athletic Director was seen as "possibly the most productive 15-month stretch in Athletic Department history." He oversaw the transition from Brady Hoke to Jim Harbaugh as football coach and secured the University's apparel deal with Nike.
LSA senior Crystal Head said she is excited to hear the announcement; however, she isn’t surprised by the change due to Hackett’s business prowess.
“He is completely business minded,” she said. “He played a major part in sealing the deal with Jim Harbaugh and switching the University of Michigan from Adidas to Nike.”
Since the announcement, Ford’s stock price has risen 13 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $11.02 in the morning trading on Monday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Bill Ford told the Detroit Free Press Hackett “will continue to transform the culture of Ford Motor Co.”
The Detroit Free Press also reported David Kelley, an engineering designer and business associate of Hackett, expects Hackett to work well with Ford employees — as many "thank him" for having secured Harbaugh.
Hackett said he is focused on creating an environment of teamwork and a structure to better tackle challenging issues the company may potentially face.
“What I want to help impact is where we are going,” Hackett said. “I want to see us differentiate ourselves.”