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Ford Replaces CEO In Push To Transform Business

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Ford is replacing its CEO amid questions about its current performance and future strategy.

Ford Motor Company on Monday officially named Jim Hackett as company president and CEO, succeeding former CEO Mark Fields. Fields is retiring at age 56 after 28 years at the company. Fields was Alan Mulally's hand-picked  successor and has spent much of his three years at the top promoting new mobility ventures.

Hackett, who joined Ford's board in 2013 and has led Ford's smart mobility unit since last year, is the former CEO of office furniture maker Steelcase.

Ford Press Conf (WWJ Jeff Gilbert)
Press conference with new Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett with Bill Ford - Executive Chairman.

Ford in a statement said Hackett led Steelcase Inc.'s turnaround to become the world's No. 1 office furniture maker. Hackett served as interim Athletic Director at University of Michigan and has led Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016.

Calling Hackett a "proven transformative leader," Executive Chairman Bill Ford says he hopes the new CEO will accelerate the pace of needed change.

But, as change can sometimes be unnerving, what does Ford say to those employees concerned about keeping their jobs?

"First of all, our buriness of making great cars and trucks, that's not going to change," Ford told WWJ's Jeff Gilbert on a conference call with reporters. "We're going to always have to do that."

Fields helped lead Ford's turnaround a decade ago as president of its Americas division, but the company's stock price has fallen almost 40 percent in the three years since he became CEO.

Ford said he informed Fields of the change last Friday, adding that no decision like this is made hastily.

Hackett said, as he takes the helm, don't expect instant change. "That's a confidence that comes after the things that we well you we're going to. It's a consequence, it's not a leading indicator, it's after we get things happening," he said.

Hackett will report directly to Bill Ford.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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