Weekly News Review | 29 May 2017 | Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain

Talking Point

Big changes at the Blue Oval to bring Ford closer to its customers’ wants

This week has seen some momentous changes at Ford, the departure of Mark Fields and a number of very significant executive changes. The appointments, under new CEO Jim Hackett, underline what was perhaps awry in management at the Blue Oval in recent times and also point the way to a more technically and consumer focused Ford.

Hackett and Executive Chairman Bill Ford emphasised three priorities in a statement; the need to sharpen operational execution across the global business; modernise Ford’s business, using new tools and techniques to unleash innovation, speed decision-making and improve efficiency, and transform the company, using the right culture, talent, strategic processes and nimbleness to succeed as society’s needs and consumer behavior changes over time.

The new management structure seems to indicate a better understanding of today and tomorrow’s market; the concentration on marketing and operational segments, naming three new leaders reporting to Hackett in new functions - Global Markets, Global Operations and Mobility.

In Global Markets, Raj Nair, a highly experienced chief technical officer and the mastermind behind some of Ford’s most exciting projects in the last few years, including the Ford GT programme, will leading the company’s global Product Development operations and play a key role in the company’s mobility efforts.

In Global Operations, we see operationally experienced chiefs such as Joe Hinrichs, promoted from the post of President of the Americas to executive vice president and president, Global Operations, along with such luminaries as Hau Thai-Tang, who is in charge of both Product Development and Purchasing.

Global Mobility is perhaps the most vital sector that the company needs to advance in. All the major OEMs are starting to embrace the models of car sharing and other new ways of using vehicles and Ford has realised that it must not be left behind, hence the appointment of Marcy Klevorn as executive vice president and president of Mobility and the formation of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a subsidiary formed to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford said earlier this week the automaker has become bogged down in bureaucracy that has slowed decision-making and the management changes certainly reflect this thinking, with a focus on being more nimble and attempting to reduce the bureaucracy that has slowed the company down in recent years.

And while being on the cover of Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain magazine is no guarantee of promotion, both Joe Hinrichs (our cover feature article in the April issue) and Hau Thai-Tang, featured in the September 2015 issue, seem to have prospered...

Alex K

Simon Duval Smith

Simon Duval Smith

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