Ford CEO Shares Vision With UAW Before Wall Street Gets a Look at the Goods

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford ceo shares vision with uaw before wall street gets a look at the goods

Prior to outlining Ford Motor Company’s new strategy to financial analysts and corporate investors, CEO Jim Hackett wants to check-in with leadership from the United Automobile Workers. Hackett has been undertaking a summer-long assessment of the company’s current status and action points — established during Mark Fields’ executive tenure — with a mind to reevaluate the status quo.

However, before he announces his new vision for the company to Wall Street, Hackett is giving the UAW a peek. Jimmy Settles, the head of the union’s Ford department, called the move an important signal that the current boss is interested in putting workers first and starting things off on the right foot.

“Normally, it’s the other way around, if it happens at all,” Settles explained to Bloomberg on Wednesday. “Then people know that I care about you. You’re hearing it from me. You don’t have to hear about it from the media.”

Despite Ford having made plans to lay off roughly 10 percent of its workforce last month, Settles and UAW President Dennis Williams seemed pleased that Hackett had indicated no loss in union employment.

“He said, ‘Look here, my review is not to see how many heads I can cut.’ He made that perfectly clear,” Settles said of a recent meeting with Hackett. “He’s looking for innovation. We talked about upscaling. The jobs of today may not be the jobs of tomorrow, but let’s talk about that in advance.”

Hackett is expected to elaborate on Ford’s intention to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles and boost the company’s sagging stock in a meeting with analysts and investors in New York next month. Settles says Hackett should be sharing some of those details with the UAW first — perhaps not everything but enough to give them a sense of what is to come.

“I hope he outlines the vision, the long-term vision,” Settles said. “Our members want to hear that. People want to feel secure.”

Ford’s share price fell 37 percent during Fields’s three years at the helm. It was the primary reason Hackett was tapped to replace him. As the former CEO of office furniture maker Steelcase Inc., he’s still getting accustomed to the automotive landscape but Settles indicated he wasn’t worried about his background.

“Hackett is obviously not a car man, but he knows manufacturing and seems to be very, very innovative,” he explained. “It seems when Bill Ford personally goes out and picks people, they seem to be the right people.”

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Join the conversation
7 of 21 comments
  • Readallover Readallover on Sep 09, 2017

    Wall Street does not care about future products or the UAW, all they want to know is how Ford is going to rid itself of all that debt....

    • See 2 previous
    • Gmichaelj Gmichaelj on Sep 10, 2017

      @JimZ Since the consumer leases are short term, the borrowings should be short term as well. This is managing interest rate risk. You don't want to borrow long before rates decline, and you don't want to lend long if rates are going to rise. One borrows in approximately the same time frames one invests in (supposing you can get your lenders to agree). Ford management should not be guessing at future interest rate movements. I'm not sure what you saw in the Motley Fool article that made you think otherwise, but the borrowings ARE Corporate Debt taken out to finance Leasing Operations. Ford has two big operations: making cars and lending money. You know what would be real interesting at TTAC? An analysis of Ford (or any other lender) having to sell their cars that come back off lease, and the risk that entails in a declining car market (supposing new and used car sales combined are declining).

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Sep 10, 2017

    Maybe they should split the company and saddle "old Ford" with debt and product liability.

    • See 1 previous
    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Sep 11, 2017

      @JimZ Maybe you should start your morning off with a big steaming hot cup of shut the hell up.

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.