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wingsnut 09-15-2017 10:09 PM

Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans

Some companies take a cookie-cutter approach to selecting their CEOs. They might favor home-grown talent, for instance, or engineers steeped in the company’s products, or salespeople who excel at spinning a corporate yarn. The next CEO tends to look like the previous CEO, and will be followed by someone cut from the same cloth.
The Ford Motor Co., on the other hand, follows no discernible pattern at all. In the past two decades alone it has toggled from an operations whiz (Jacques Nasser) to a young scion of its founding family (Bill Ford) to an exec who was an automotive neophyte (Alan Mulally) and back again to another true-blue insider (Mark Fields)..........

At a high level—a level where Hackett frequently dwells—his plan for Ford revolves around focusing the company on revenue sources other than making vehicles with internal-combustion engines. These include producing electric and autonomous cars as well as offering services like the Ford-owned Chariot “micro-transit” system and “curb-management” software that eases congestion in cities. In an interview, he refers to the opportunities in front of Ford as a “mobility smorgasbord”—mobility being a catch-all phrase for nontraditional revenues at Ford. Says Hackett: “We don’t want to cede the future to anybody else.”

wingsnut 09-15-2017 10:26 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans
A lot of buzz around the cooler these days. I think Ford stock is a buying opportunity.

2b2 09-15-2017 10:43 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans
1 Attachment(s)
Adam Lashinsky,, Sep 12, 2017 cont.:

"...for specifics, Hackett is purposely vague for now. This summer he instituted a 100-day review of the company. And shortly before coming to San Francisco in mid-August for a Ford-sponsored conference on the future of cities, he presented his preliminary findings to a group of 300 top Ford executives in Michigan. Hackett talks in terms of corporate “fitness” and says he wants to speed decision-making at Ford. “I have some things that are going to be coming out in the fall,” he promises..."

"...Design thinking is something of a religion among its adherents, and Ford execs would do well to brush up on the gospel... thinking, properly applied, represents nothing less than the changing of the culture at an organization like Ford. “The old way was about disciplines. The new way will be about projects and understanding what people want.”...

...One of (Hackett's) first acts was to set up Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto, with IDEO as the key partner. (The name is a nod to Henry Ford’s outdoor museum in Dearborn, Mich.) There, Ford and IDEO work in secret on future Ford products. After becoming CEO, Hackett hired IDEO to work on a larger engagement at corporate headquarters.

Hackett uses design thinking to inform everything he does. He is using the process of “ideation” and rapid prototyping to review everything at Ford from how it runs its parts and services organization to how capital is allocated in the product-development process.

Design thinking isn’t a completely new concept at Ford. Its Escape “crossover” vehicle, for example, is one of several that has a function that allows owners to open a hatch by passing their foot under the rear bumper, the better to off-load an armful of groceries without fumbling for a key. But IDEO’s Kelley, who won’t divulge what projects he’s working on at Ford, predicts a radical change in corporate behavior. “There’ll be a bunch of short prototyping projects,” he says. “Most CEOs want a polished presentation. Jim wants to see the work really early on so he has some say over the direction.”...

...Hacking Hackett: Three of the New Ford CEO’s Key Precepts
1. Change isn’t so much good as inevitable
2. Focus on users, and products will follow
3. Be open-minded

wingsnut 09-16-2017 02:26 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans
I believe that trend will continue upward for some time to come.

Bloggin 09-17-2017 04:23 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans

Originally Posted by wingsnut (Post 319513)
I believe that trend will continue upward for some time to come.

I think that would depend on what Ford actually does, because with investors, the 'words' are not working anymore. It's time for some BOLD moves for Ford and Lincoln toward the immediate near and distant future.

wingsnut 09-17-2017 09:52 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans

Originally Posted by Bloggin (Post 319785)
I think that would depend on what Ford actually does, because with investors, the 'words' are not working anymore. It's time for some BOLD moves for Ford and Lincoln toward the immediate near and distant future.

I'm now convinced it's NOT what you do, but what you SAY you will do, that will make a bigger difference in stock price.
Ford has done plenty of traditional moves in the last few years under Fields, saving Lincoln, introducing a performance brand, aluminum trucks and now SUV's, and much more.....and like most auto stocks, it barely moved the needle. And no, having a 300 mile EV would not have mattered with stock price.

What I think will finally move the stock price significantly, is the ideas that Hackett is about to soon present that will include details about Ford being a mobility company and of course a big push with more electrification details, and much more as well. Hackett is very unique with his approach. What clearly won't matter, is if they freshened up their lineup with more of the same.

Assimilator 09-18-2017 01:56 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans
I know Ford has longterm goals to renovate the Dearborn campus but perhaps that money would be better spent moving more of their development to Silicon Valley which might better suit their future planning. We might see some of that announced.

wingsnut 09-18-2017 08:19 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans
The campus is a 10 year project. Complete renovation, and stunning too. I don't think they are hurting for capital. Combined with their completely revamped products, tools and processes, it should be quite the revolution at Ford.

2b2 09-18-2017 11:40 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans

Originally Posted by Assimilator (Post 319889)
I know Ford has longterm goals to renovate the Dearborn campus but perhaps that money would be better spent moving more of their development to Silicon Valley which might better suit their future planning. We might see some of that announced.

wouldn't the Silicon Ghetto be the ideal place to only go to virtually?
did you read that bit about Mr. Hatchett having more 'face-time' with his bro-mance there
than with his wife?

2b2 09-25-2017 06:59 PM

Re: Ford’s New CEO Hints at Ambitious Plans
1 Attachment(s)
via FordAuthority

Jim Hackett's big moment
CEO's vision for Ford will become clearer this(next) week
- Michael Martinez - Sept 25, 2017

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett likes solving big problems. He did just that at Steelcase, a century-old Michigan furniture maker that had struggled to keep up with the times, and then at the University of Michigan, where the storied football program he played for had faded.

Now, at the nation's No. 2 automaker, he may face his most daunting challenge: ensuring a 114-year-old manufacturer that has traditionally made its profits selling trucks can quickly pivot to an age of self-driving vehicles, shared ownership and new mobility services, all while trying to stave off new competition from the technology industry.

After keeping a low profile in his first four months on the job while he evaluated the business, Hackett is expected to offer at least some initial solutions when he briefs analysts and investors Oct. 3 in New York.

Since his May 22 appointment, Hackett has visited line workers at some of the company's assembly plants, taken multiple trips to Ford's Silicon Valley offices and traveled to meet with joint venture partners in Russia and Turkey. He has already made some big decisions, including reshuffling Ford's senior management team, moving Focus production from North America to China and exploring a strategic partnership in India with Mahindra to help share costs there.

"Jim has an incredible opportunity to lead Ford into its next chapter," Jim Keane, who succeeded Hackett as CEO of Steelcase in 2014, told Automotive News in an email. "He made significant contributions while at Steelcase and we are excited to see how he'll bring his energy and strategic thinking to Ford in this important role."

That next chapter must include shoring up Ford's bottom line after several quarters of earnings declines and making money on products beyond pickups, SUVs and crossovers, analysts and industry observers say.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said Hackett could "effect profound cultural and structural change" at the automaker. One example he floated in a note to investors last week was a potential partnership with Google's Waymo unit, because Hackett has deep Silicon Valley ties and could succeed where former CEO Mark Fields failed after talks between Ford and Google broke down in 2016.​

Other potential moves could include axing some slow-selling sedans, localizing production of its Lincoln luxury brand in China for that market, partnering with technology companies and clarifying its electric vehicle strategy.

"There's a lot of low-hanging fruit," said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis at AutoPacific. "They need to be able to react faster to consumer demand."

Moving faster
Quicker reaction time was one of the key reasons the company's board of directors decided to ditch Fields in favor of Hackett.

"The clock speed at which the world is moving, and our competitors, really requires us to make decisions at a faster pace," Executive Chairman Bill Ford said when Hackett took over. "And we have to trust our people to move fast. It's not command and control."

If his previous management style is any indication, Hackett may encourage more of what he calls "design-thinking" at Ford.

"Simply put, we made the same mistake that most organizations make when they undertake an ambitious project — having come up with a fine notion, we put all our energy into execution before we had thought the idea through," Hackett wrote in the April 2007 Harvard Business Review, when he was at Steelcase. "When people told me that the one thing they could use more of was time, what they were really saying was that they needed more time to think."

While the concepts of faster decision-making and more thinking time may seem to contradict one another, Hackett's philosophy is that asking the right questions early allows the later steps in creating a product or making other decisions to move faster.

That could mean significant changes to Ford's product lineup.

In recent years, Ford stood idle as rivals introduced products in hot segments such as midsize trucks and compact crossovers. It plans to launch the EcoSport compact crossover in 2018 and the Ranger midsize pickup in 2019, years after the competition.

"Ford missed the market and didn't realize where consumers were going," Sullivan said. "A decision to bring [those vehicles] here should have happened a long time ago."

Future vs. present
Hackett's faster decision-making could also spell the end of some lower-margin vehicles, such as the Fiesta subcompact car, Taurus large car and C-Max hybrid and plug-in hybrid hatchback. Automotive News and others have reported that those vehicles won't survive another product cycle in the U.S.

A Ford spokesman declined to comment on any actions Hackett will take after conducting a 100-day review of the business. Hackett agreed to meet with UAW leaders to privately explain some of his plans before meeting with Wall Street next week.

Another reason Fields was ousted is that Ford's board of directors had apparently begun to doubt his vision. Although he often talked about having "one foot in today and one foot in tomorrow," the company had offered little concrete proof of future revenue streams, even after spending billions to acquire a handful of Silicon Valley startups. At the same time, Ford's earnings had started to fade, and the company's stock fell precipitously during Fields' tenure.

"This is an industry that has historically only thought as far forward as the next quarter and how things affect earnings," Sullivan said. "I think there has to be more of a blend of looking forward to the next quarter and year, but also having an understanding of what the future of the auto industry is going to look like and building the foundation for that now."

David Kelley, the founder of IDEO — a global design firm that works closely with Steelcase and is a partner with Ford in Greenfield Labs, a design think tank in Palo Alto, Calif. — told Automotive News in May that Hackett excels at balancing those two realities.

"He's one of the best at this tension between doing the future and making the present business go," Kelley said.

Hackett in 2012 told The​ New York Times that he thinks in terms of a bull's-eye, with "now" in the center, "near" in the outer ring and "far" in the farthest ring.

"What I've argued is that you have to train yourself to work in all three dimensions simultaneously," he said then. "It's human nature to get pulled into the now, and the reward systems are built that way. You have to think of it in terms of making good on this notion that if you're really a great leader, you're going to be noted for it long after you've been gone. That's because you actually reached out and imagined the state of things in the future."

Ford's future could hinge on autonomous cars and ride-sharing services. And that's where Hackett's design-thinking expertise could have its greatest impact.

Since taking over, Hackett has focused on the human element — how robot cars or ride-hailing apps can improve people's lives. It has been a focal point of Ford for years but has gained a little more traction in recent months.

For example, the company in August partnered with Domino's to study how customers would react to and interact with autonomous pizza-delivery cars. It also worked with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to discover that blinking lights on the front of autonomous cars can effectively communicate with pedestrians at crosswalks.

Ford has formed a City Solutions team to help determine the best ways to relieve congestion and improve commutes to and from urban centers.

"When you paint the robots as perfect and humans as imperfect, we've made a big mistake," Hackett said last month​ in San Francisco. "We don't need the robot to get around."

Comparison to Mulally
Early in his 20-year tenure as Steelcase CEO, Hackett moved out of his 700-square-foot office and into smaller, more open quarters designed with the help of a psychologist to create a "leadership community" for company executives.

Hackett said he tried to make the culture at Steelcase less stiff and more informal, and has already set a similar tone at Ford, although he hasn't made drastic changes to his C-suite office at Ford's Dearborn headquarters.

When he's at headquarters, he has made a habit of going to the cafeteria for lunch and interacting with workers, staffers say. At the company's annual leadership conference in August, Hackett invited thought leaders from Microsoft and other companies in an effort to inspire Ford's top 300 executives from around the globe.

Jim Seavitt, owner of Village Ford, a dealership just down Michigan Avenue from Ford's Dearborn headquarters, said the CEO has committed to attend a meeting of 20 dealers this year.

Seavitt's proximity to the Glass House has traditionally allowed him access to Ford's top leaders. Shortly after Alan Mulally became Ford's CEO in 2006, he visited Seavitt's showroom and acted as a salesman, greeting customers with a friendly "Hi, I'm Alan" before walking them through the highlights of Ford's newest cars. He had a hand in seven sales that day, Seavitt said.

Although he hasn't met Hackett, Seavitt said he believes Hackett has similar qualities to Mulally.

He plans to keep tabs on Hackett's Oct. 3 business update and hopes it includes more clarity on what role dealers will play in a future of autonomous cars and fewer individual vehicle owners.

He also wants to be sure the company doesn't stray too far from its roots of building and selling cars.

"I'm glad they made a directional change," Seavitt said. "But they have to remember what made the [record $10.8 billion pretax profit in 2015] — current product. It's our lifeblood."

On the agenda

Hackett's early moves:
• Visited assembly plants, Silicon Valley offices, and joint venture partners in Russia and Turkey
• Put Joe Hinrichs in charge of global manufacturing, Jim Farley in charge of global sales and marketing, and Marcy Klevorn in charge of mobility
• Announced that Focus production will move from North America to China
• Began exploring a cost-sharing partnership in India with Mahindra
• Partnered with Domino's and Virginia Tech to study consumer interactions with autonomous vehicles
• Invited leaders from Microsoft and other companies to inspire Ford's top 300 executives

Hackett's to-do list:
• Meet with dealers
• Clarify electric vehicle strategy
• Cut slow-selling, low-margin cars
• Explore partnerships with technology companies
• Reverse earnings declines
• Get stock price to rebound

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attached snip of HatchettCon ad for NAIAS-time...

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