By on February 15, 2019

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The chief money man at the Blue Oval plans to hang up his Excel spreadsheets by the end of this year, according to sources in the know. He’s expected to stay on until a new top beancounter is broken in.

Why should you care? Because the Glass House is in the throes of a major product overhaul and under constant scrutiny from Wall Street, that’s why. Any shakeup in the corner offices is bound to have an effect on both activities, especially when recent earnings have been disappointing.

Earlier this year, Ford reported that its EBIT earnings in 2018 totalled about $7 billion. Net income was in the $3.7 billion range, down four stacks from the prior year. This represented a 4.4 percent operating margin, according to a leaked memo written by Jim Hackett. That’s about half of what Hackett considers “appropriate,” given statements made in the same memo.

Those familiar with the situation tell the Detroit Free Press that, despite working in lock-step, Shanks and Hackett have a very different speaking style, particularly when dealing with finance nerds. People in the know say that Shanks’ approach is very straightforward, answering questions as they are asked. Hackett, meanwhile, has been described by many as “cerebral” — a personality trait that doesn’t seem to fly well with those who pull the strings on Wall Street. Look to Ford’s current stock price, sitting below $9 a share as of this writing. With that in mind, HR would be wise to hire someone with a Shanks-like speaking style.

According to Freep, Shanks earned a base pay of $879,750 plus a cash bonus of $309,750 in 2017. His overall compensation package totaled $6.7 million, they go on to say, citing a recent company filing.

Back in 2018, it was the duty of Shanks to detail expected cost savings realized by binning all the brand’s cars, save for the Mustang. Having sharpened the cost-cutting knife and cleaved away wide swaths of existing product, Shanks said, “Everything will be on the table. We can make different investments, we can partner, we can exit products, markets — and we will do that,” at the Q1 report meeting last year.

Shanks, 66, has been with Ford since 1977. He’s been in charge in various corners of the operation, including stints as CFO of Mazda and the Premier Automotive Group when they were under the Ford umbrella.

[Image: Ford]

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8 Comments on “Ford CFO Bob Shanks Departing by Year’s End: Sources...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Shanks?

    Wonder if he get’s teased on the golf course?

    Hackett should have let him do all the talking if he had a straightforward speaking style. Income would probably be UP instead of DOWN.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …Why should you care? Because the Glass House is in the throes of a major product overhaul and under constant scrutiny from Wall Street, that’s why. Any shakeup in the corner offices is bound to have an effect on both activities, especially when recent earnings have been disappointing…

    Perfect summary. A CFO leaving isn’t necessarily bad news. A CFO leaving during a restructuring isn’t necessarily bad news either – it may require a different set of skills. A CFO leaving during restructuring, a flagging stock price, disappointing earnings, and global market issues on almost anything that does not have F-Series stamped on it? That is not a good sign.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    ive never liked ford vehicles, but the company itself is okay. theyre getting a lot of crap recently, but i think they have a better chance of being around in 20 years than FCA. i bought a few hundred shares of F with money that was doing nothing. im down, but i see it getting up around $14 eventually. its not a loss (or profit) until i sell, so im holding tight.

  • avatar

    Things won’t improve until Hackett follows Shanks out the door. Twenty weeks in a row with the stock price under 9 is an absymal performance. During all this Bill Ford stares into cameras with a labotomized grin.

  • avatar
    NG5

    Can anyone point me to an instance of talk where Hackett could justifiably be described as “cerebral”, an adjective so frequently applied to him I wonder if it has been part of a press release? In the bits of conversation in transcripts I have seen of earnings calls, he could best be described as “vague”.

    I’m no expert, but I don’t get why people keep saying this about Hackett. Is there something I am missing?

  • avatar
    Tennessee_Speed

    I wonder if Mark Fields feels that he could have done a better job than Hackett? My guess is yes.

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