Ford Motor Company Loses VP and Brand Officer, First Mobility CEO

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

There’s two departures occuring at Ford Motor Company for anyone thinking of advancing their career. The automaker announced late Wednesday that Musa Tariq, vice president of the company and Ford’s chief brand officer, is leaving the automaker, effective this week. Joining him is Raj Rao, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility, who takes his leave on the 1st of May.

The mobility division was created in 2016 by former Ford CEO Mark Fields, with Rao serving as its CEO. The subsidiary’s chairman, Jim Hackett, now has a pretty good idea of what Fields’ job entailed. Tariq joined the company in January 2017.

No reason was given for either of the two departures, but the personnel loss leaves Ford with some very important roles to fill.

For now, Joy Falotico, Ford’s chief marketing officer and group vice president of Lincoln, is filling in for Tariq. She’s held that position since March 1st, when the sudden (and murky) departure of Raj Nair, head of Ford’s North American operations, led to a shakeup in the company’s top ranks.

“Musa is a proven leader of brand transformation, having led similar work at some of the world’s most admired brands before coming to Ford, and he is a leader known for creativity and social media expertise,” said Hackett in a statement. “Over the last year, he has been helping to drive the same transformation at Ford. We are grateful for his service and will carry on the work he has started.”

There’s no company statement concerning Rao’s impending departure, but the news was confirmed by a Ford spokesperson via the Detroit Free Press. Ford lured Rao away from Silicon Valley in October 2016 as it sought new revenue streams in the mobility realm. Since the creation of Ford Smart Mobility, itself based in Palo Alto, California, it seems the burgeoning segment is all the automaker can talk about (when it’s not talking trucks).

Besides Silicon Valley startups, which regularly get bought up by automakers, Ford has to contend with rival General Motors in the mobility arena. Already, GM is exploring new directions for its Maven car-sharing service, and there’s a good chance it will soon expand to privately owned GM vehicles. Ford’s Chariot shuttle service is also in expansion mode. Ford and GM also compete with the likes of Waymo and Uber in autonomous vehicle development, which forms the backbone of many future mobility plans. To keep up, Ford needs to bring on staff who know how to position the company at the forefront of the growing field.

Tariq sharpened his skills at Apple, while Rao formerly worked for 3M. Ford hasn’t announced a replacement for the latter executive at this time.

(Update: Ford has informed us that, due to a reorganization of its mobility team in January, the position occupied by Rao at Ford Smart Mobility has ceased to exist. The executive still uses the title on his LinkedIn page.)

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on Mar 22, 2018

    I want to be in charge of car development, how easy is that gig at Ford? “We’ve got nothing in the pipeline, boss.” “Outstanding! Keep up the good work.”

  • RedRocket RedRocket on Mar 22, 2018

    The lack of mention of any landing spot for Tariq along with the quick departure, even the "ever-popular "to pursue other opportunities" suggests he was asked to leave. Hope it wasn't another Nair situation. The lack of a statement about Rao is equally odd. Ford strikes me as a company in turmoil who have staked everything on the ongoing popularity of trucks and SUVs.

  • ToolGuy The other day I attempted to check the engine oil in one of my old embarrassing vehicles and I guess the red shop towel I used wasn't genuine Snap-on (lots of counterfeits floating around) plus my driveway isn't completely level and long story short, the engine seized 3 minutes later.No more used cars for me, and nothing but dealer service from here on in (the journalists were right).
  • Doughboy Wow, Merc knocks it out of the park with their naming convention… again. /s
  • Doughboy I’ve seen car bras before, but never car beards. ZZ Top would be proud.
  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.
  • Lou_BC "That’s expensive for a midsize pickup" All of the "offroad" midsize trucks fall in that 65k USD range. The ZR2 is probably the cheapest ( without Bison option).