By on November 7, 2019

The cutting edge of new technology will be guided by new hands at Ford. On Thursday, the automaker announced changes to its executive lineup, including the departure of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC head Sherif Marakby and his replacement by vice president of strategy John Lawler.

Ford didn’t elaborate much on Marakby’s absence, stating that the exec, who formerly headed up Uber’s global vehicles programs, “has elected to take a personal leave from the company.”

Before taking on the CEO position of Ford AV LLC in June 2018, Marakby served a year as the automaker’s vice president in charge of autonomous vehicles and electrification. He serves as a board member at Argo AI, the upstart self-driving tech firm that receives funding from both Ford and alliance partner Volkswagen.

Marakby joined Ford in 1990.

In replacing the absent exec (effective immediately), Lawler also dons the title of vice president of mobility partnerships. He’s replaced in the strategy role by Ford Credit CEO David McClelland, whose post becomes the responsibility of Marion Harris, vice president of the company’s Mobility Business Group.

Elsewhere among the company’s upper ranks, longtime Ford exec Kim Pittel is retiring effective December 1st. Pittel, vice president in charge of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, joined the company 34 years ago. Before being tapped to lower the automaker’s emissions in January 2015, Pittel was involved in the development and launch of several products, among them the Mustang, Escape, Focus, Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ. In 2010, she moved from an engineering role to a quality control one, later overseeing the automaker’s suppliers.

Taking over for the departing Pittel is Bob Holycross, who worked under Pittell as global director for sustainability, homologation and compliance.

“There are always mixed emotions when wonderful people wrap up their Ford careers,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett in a statement. “It’s tough to say goodbye to leaders who achieved so much for the company, but it’s great to see our other talented team members have an opportunity to apply their expertise in new ways – especially during such an exciting time of growth and transformation at Ford.”

We now await to see if Marakby returns to the company he’s vacated once before.

[Image: Ford]

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9 Comments on “Ford Shuffles Execs, Finds New AV Boss...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It took him only 18 months to see what a dead end AVs are. Directors of this group will have the same job tenure as one of Trump’s cabinet members.

    • 0 avatar

      It may turn out to be Ford’s Siberia posting.

      • 0 avatar

        Why Siberia and not Australia where they speak some kind of English dialect derived from cockney? If you speak cockney you know Australian language. At least it is easier to learn than Russian.

        • 0 avatar

          No offense intended to Siberia and the Siberians. It’s just that the place is cold, remote, and has a certain history as a place of punishment, so it makes sense as a metaphor for a posting that even a command-level person would want to avoid.

          You have a point – Change “cold” to “hot” and the same sentence would describe Australia quite well.

          Siberia does have fewer venomous spiders, but far more bears. I guess your preference depends on whether you like heat or cold better.

    • 0 avatar

      I love watching you people act like you know what you’re talking about.

      • 0 avatar

        Then again, as JimZ perhaps alludes, there are many reasons a Ford exec might leave quietly. The positive statement for Kim Pittel contrasts with the lack of a statement for Sherif Marakby. HIPAA, employment law, who knows?

  • avatar

    The real villain Hackett the Hatchet-man stays. Ford quality is really poor, and is ranked behind Mitsubishi.

  • avatar

    “…such an exciting time of growth and transformation at Ford”

    Never what you want to read as an employee.

    Translation: “Upheaval and confusion.”

  • avatar

    Ford Autonomous Vehicles: Replacing the technical-background person with the general-business-background person could indicate that things are progressing well and ready to be monetized. But at this point it likely means something else.

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