Bill Ford, Ford’s chairman, has turned down allegations that he fired his chief executive.
The car firm’s boss said that Mark Fields decided to retire as opposed to the general notion that he was fired.
Ford had announced earlier of its plans to replace the chief executive after the US car giant underwent a major reshuffle.
The departure of Mark Fields happens at a time when Ford is struck by weakening sales, declining profits and about 40% fall in share prices since Mr. Fields assumed his role in 2014.
The incoming chief executive, Jim Hackett (62), has been described by Mr Ford as a “transformational business leader.”
Prior to joining Ford in 2016 to head the autonomous driving division, Mr Hackett was in charge of office furniture firm Steelcase.
Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman and great grandson of fonder Henry Ford, termed the incoming boss as a “true visionary” individual who is better placed to lead the car maker.
His main task will be to modernize Ford and help it meet its future challenges at a time when technology is proving to be the next big thing.
Mr Ford explained that the board held a Friday meeting in which they saw it was the right time for Mr Fields to resign.
The chairman further commented that these kinds of decisions are never made hastily and that it took them quite a long time of discussion.
Ford shares rose 1.3% in morning trading in New York.
Paying the price or a casualty?
BBC analyst, Russel Hotten, believes that Mark Fields isn’t just paying the price for Ford’s decline. In fact, he himself is a casualty of a declining giant unable to get ready for the future.
Ford takes pride in being the car manufacturer that gave the world the very first mass-car production. But this is a pride that is slowly fading away as long-range and autonomous transport day by day emerges as the future of the car industry. Gone are the combustion engine days and the likes of Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen are very much aware of this.
Last month, Ford’s stock market value fell behind Tesla, the electric car upstart that has never made a profit. It was a symbolic moment that underlines Ford’s problems.
The problem isn’t with Mr. Ford but rather with shareholders who do not see the value of investing billions in self-drive and ride-sharing experiments.
Ford chairman Bill Ford Jr can be seen to have acted at this time after intense boardroom meetings and a tetchy annual shareholders’ meeting.
Jim Hacket thus comes in when he is dully needed. He has the reputation of a cost-cutter, something that Ford will find highly valuable.