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Ford confirms departure of chief executive Mark Fields


Reports suggest a parting of the way for Ford and Mark Fields (AP)

Reports suggest a parting of the way for Ford and Mark Fields (AP)

Reports suggest a parting of the way for Ford and Mark Fields (AP)

Ford has confirmed the departure of chief executive Mark Fields as part of a boardroom shake-up following questions over the car giant's performance and future strategy.

The company said on Monday that the 56-year-old has "elected to retire" after 28 years at Ford and will be replaced by Jim Hackett, who joined the car maker's board in 2013 and has led the mobility unit since last year.

The appointment is effective immediately and comes amid concerns about the company's trajectory after a bout of weak sales.

Under Mr Fields' three-year tenure at the helm, Ford's shares have tumbled almost 40% and he has come under fire for not focusing enough on the core business.

Executive chairman Bill Ford said: "We're moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future."

He added: "Mark Fields has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for all he has accomplished in his many roles around the globe at Ford.

"His strong leadership was critical to our North American restructuring, our turnaround at the end of the last decade, and our record profits in the past two years."

Turning his eye to the new chief executive, Mr Ford said: "Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space."

Mr Hackett is the former boss of office furniture maker Steelcase, one of the world's largest office furniture companies and is credited with transforming that company, in part by predicting the shift away from cubicles to open office plans.

The 62-year-old also cut thousands of jobs and moved furniture production from the US to Mexico to stem massive losses at the company.

As part of the shake-up, several Ford executives are taking on new roles.

Jim Farley, who led the company's European division back to profitability in recent years, will become vice president of global markets and will oversee Lincoln, sales and marketing.

Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford's Americas division, will oversee global product development, manufacturing and quality.

Marcy Klevorn, Ford's chief technical officer, will replace Hackett as the head of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, Ford's future mobility unit.

All three will take up their roles June 1, with their replacements set to be announced at a later date.