Ford Shakes Up Top Ranks After Farley-led 'Deep Dive'
Few C-suites undergo renovations quite as often as Ford’s. The automaker’s executive ranks have again seen a revision, with the biggest promotion going to Kumar Galhotra (pictured above), formerly president of Ford’s North American region and ex-boss of the Lincoln brand — a role he earned considerable kudos for.
Elsewhere in the shakeup, which was ordered by recently minted chief operating officer Jim Farley following a 10-week “deep dive,” are promotions and additions designed, among other things, to sharpen “Ford’s focus on product and launch execution.” Among the new hires? A former Israeli intelligence officer.
It seems last year’s botched Explorer/Aviator roll-out continues to make ripples.
Ford says the shakeup, in addition to smoothing to future launches, aims for “fully leveraging smart, connected vehicles and big data to better serve customers; improving quality and lowering costs; and creating a dedicated commercial vehicle business in the U.S. and Canada.”
For Malhotra, the move sees the 54-year-old don the title of president, Americas & International Markets Group, with all those regional business units reporting directly to him. He’s also in charge of the automaker’s new commercial vehicle business in the U.S. and Canada. General manager of that unit will be Ted Cannis, former global director of electrification.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett heaped praise on Farley in a statement, saying the automaker is “moving with a renewed sense of urgency to improve the fitness of the business,” with a focus on higher margins and faster growth. This, of course, was Ford’s intent long before the coronavirus pandemic cropped up.
An endlessly sagging stock price and last year’s quality-compromised launch of the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator (which earned the company a grim fourth-quarter earnings report) saw Ford enter the new decade under a dark cloud. Given that poor stock performance as seen as the reason for former CEO Mark Fields’ ouster, Hackett has had to bat away questions about his leadership almost since the outset.
On February 7th, he announced the sudden departure of Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s former president of automotive, and the elevation of Farley to COO.
To help Galhotra, Ford has created the new position of chief operating officer for the North America region. Filled by Lisa Drake (former, and continuing, head of global purchasing), the job comes with a mandate to “help lead the push to return the North American business back to a 10 percent EBIT margin.”
“With Drake’s deep operational knowledge, she will further accelerate the transformation of the North American business through cash conservation and profit actions,” the company stated.
The industry’s ever-increasing plunge into the spooky world of data and artificial intelligence calls for someone with deep knowledge of such things to head the company’s efforts in that emerging realm. For that job, Ford brought aboard Retired Col. Gil Gur Arie as its chief of Global Data Insight and Analytics. Formerly of the Israeli Military Intelligence Corps, the 44-year-old Gur Arie will “lead the Ford team through the digital revolution and develop Ford’s big-data and AI strategy in the coming years.”
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- Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
- Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
- Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
- FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
- Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.
"and last year’s quality-compromised launch of the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator" It should be noted that the issues with the Explorer and MKExplorer go way beyond launch...especially for the Explorer. Extremely low quality inside and out, awful power train (2.3L) that drinks fuel, poorly programmed transmission, awful infotainment (Apple CarPlay crashing regulary), etc. It's far worse than the Traverse and every other mid-sized/large SUV on the market. "8th Place Ford Explorer It's new to market, but the Ford seems like it was built ages ago. Its price ladder doesn't speak well to value." https://www.motortrend.com/cars/kia/telluride/2020/3-row-midsize-suv-comparison-test/ "Third Place: Ford Explorer Once the pioneer and now the follower, the Explorer is riding on its brand name. The base-level Ford is, indeed, very roomy, and most comfortably seats six, but when there are mid- and top-level seven- and eight-passenger 3-row SUVs available for the same cost, it's just no longer competitive. The Explorer's driveline and chassis were outclassed by a comparatively ancient Honda. In what should have been a resounding victory, the Explorer fell short of expectations as well as segment norms for a 3-row SUV in terms of advanced safety systems, fuel economy, and performance." https://www.motortrend.com/news/honda-pilot-ford-explorer-toyota-highlander-3-row-suv-comparison-test/ "But despite being brand new in almost every way, the Explorer feels like a step backward for Ford. The biggest reason for this is interior quality, or rather, a serious lack thereof. Inside, there is an abuse of hard, scratchy plastics on the doors and dash, leatherette materials that feel more like rubber than leather, and a myriad of mismatched panels and exposed wiring that belie the Explorer's price tag. The seats in particular suffer from this lack of quality. The leatherette Ford used to cover them is vegan, and they feel entirely synthetic as a result. Road tester Chris Walton described them as "gooey." Turn the Explorer on, and the quality control problems extend beyond the Ford's physical faults. Ford's Sync3 infotainment was buggy in this particular tester—even Apple CarPlay was reluctant to work properly. In my four days with the car, CarPlay crashed eight times, most frequently right after startup—and that was just while I was driving it." https://www.motortrend.com/news/2019-chevrolet-traverse-vs-2020-ford-explorer/
I had owned Ford products since my first car in 1980 was a 1964 Ford Falcon I made into a daily driver. For decades I bled Ford blue, but as my last new Ford (a 1997 Ford Escort) started to show its age after 178k miles in late 2018, I was shopping for a vehicle to replace the Escort. I did the unthinkable - I researched every product in the compact car class (I loathe CUV's and SUV's). I quickly ruled out Toyoduhs and Honduhs because their price premium made no sense as the newer products were decidely low rent feeling. I ruled out Nissan as they were just junk. I have to preface that I wanted a manual transmission. Ford had the Focus and Fiesta but these cars were not very roomy and the DCT transmission fiasco was tanking resale values even on manuals. I could buy low, but I was afraid that I'd get the floor pulled out later on. I dismissed Ford right there. What was eye-opening was how much improved Hyundai/Kia hd become since I had last seen one. The prices on the used car market had already taken out the depreciation, so I settled on something 2016 or newer - and I managed to find a 2016 Hyundai Elantra with 21k miles and a manual transmission. It had been a fleet car (not rental) and looked brand new inside and out. For right around $12k, I replaced my Escort with this Hyundai in January 2019. I've put about 14k miles on it since and this car has been amazing on fuel economy (averaging 43 mpgs) and has room galore on the inside. I love the styling of the car (before they dumbed it down the next year). I could not be happier and now will be a Hyundai/Kia buyer and not a Ford one. Ford abandoned cars and they lost me as a buyer. I will refuse to buy a CUV/SUV - and even if my next purchase is a hybrid, I'll only consider a car - and Hyundai and Kia have not forgotten that segment.