The Real Future Of Ford Isn't Its New CEO

Jim Farley at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Image via Ford
Jim Farley at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Image via Ford

In case you were, you know, sleeping overnight, reports of a huge management shakeup at Ford came out. Ford confirmed it Monday, announcing Mark Fields was out as CEO and Jim Hackett would take over. But a person promoted under Hackett, Jim Farley, is probably the real future of Ford.

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While Fields headed the company, Ford had some big changes to swallow—the biggest being its shift into a “mobility” company, with a focus on ride sharing, apps and autonomous cars. But Ford’s stock price dropped nearly 40 percent under Fields, so, naturally, he’s out and Hackett is in.

And even though Hackett got the big role, he’s more like a caretaker for Ford. The announcement said Hackett, 62, will work with Bill Ford — chairman of the company and great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, because Ford is still essentially family run and hoooo boy are those fights legendary —on “sharpening operational execution, modernizing Ford’s present business and transforming the company to meet tomorrow’s challenges.”

But Farley, Ford’s new executive vice president and president of global markets, will probably be behind making the #brands #cool.

While Hackett’s career has been as a high-ranking businessperson, investor and sometimes CEO across a variety of businesses—furniture, athletics, banking, academics and since 2013, automobiles—Farley started with Toyota in 1990 has been in cars ever since. Ford plucked him from being the group vice president and general manager at Lexus in 2007. Since then he’s run Ford’s marketing, Ford’s European operations, and now, he’ll be running all of Ford’s regional operations.

Here’s his full job description, from Ford:

James “Jim” D. Farley, Jr. is executive vice president and president of Global Markets, Ford Motor Company, effective June 1, 2017. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing Ford’s business units, The Americas; Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific. In addition, Farley will oversee Lincoln Motor Company and global Marketing Sales & Service. Farley will also oversee the strategy and business model development for electrified vehicles and autonomous vehicles. 

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And yes, we know that that stuff basically sounds like “all of Ford.”

But the most important part is that Farley just seems to get it. Back when he was the Ford marketing chief in 2012, he filmed a video saying he reads Jalopnik every day (just like you, maybe!) and told a touching story about his mom instead of talking about some classic cars he might have bought with all of that marketing money he has.

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Farley also has a deep hatred for General Motors, which he has described, on the record, as wanting “to beat Chevrolet on the head with bat.” He described his goals back in 2011 as enjoying a GM beatdown, because at the time, he “hate[d] them and their company and what they stand for.” And he hated GM’s success.

“Fuck GM,” he said in a book interview. He better not have changed, because that sort of rage can propel a company to greatness. Just look at Ford and Ferrari, or Lamborghini and Ferrari, or anyone and Ferrari.

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Let’s hope Farley’s still championing the cause of rage in 2017.

Staff writer, Jalopnik

DISCUSSION

badams109
So Shiney. So Chrome! So Frunky

Well hopefully he can get Ford to inject some cool into their more everyday cars. Barring the stuff I cant afford (GT, Raptor, Anything RS / ST) there isn’t much they make that seems “cool” to me. I mean the cars / trucks may be great by most metrics but they always felt like the type of thing you buy when you don’t want to stand out too much. They lack....swagger.