Ford Shuffles Execs, Finds New AV Boss

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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ford shuffles execs finds new av boss

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 07, 2019

    "...such an exciting time of growth and transformation at Ford" Never what you want to read as an employee. Translation: "Upheaval and confusion."

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 07, 2019

    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.

  • SCE to AUX "But we can all go pound sand in North America, unfortunately"In reality, that would be about 1000 people who can go pound sand, which is why this isn't coming to North America.
  • MaintenanceCosts You could probably make this thing satisfy US emissions standards, although it wouldn't right now, but there is no way on God's green earth you could make it satisfy US safety standards.
  • MrIcky Haven't these been out for a while? Is the news just that Japan gets them now too?
  • JTiberius1701 Jaguar Contour....
  • Analoggrotto How pathetic, as Telluride ATPs continue to soar with a model released in 2018, Toyota is living in the past, bringing back old heavy truck frame junk like this to sell a few hundred copies. They can't even remotely compete on reddit for the toast of society who enjoys the finest AVMs and ATPs by signing up for the finest SUV for under $100k and only #2 to the Purosangue beyond that. This is like the Miata of 3 Row SUVs, you can pay more but not get anything better.