Ford CFO Bob Shanks Departing by Year's End: Sources

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ford cfo bob shanks departing by year s end sources

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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  • NG5 NG5 on Feb 16, 2019

    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?

  • Tennessee_Speed Tennessee_Speed on Feb 19, 2019

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

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.