May 23, 2017

New Ford CEO: "we've got a huge opportunity"


Paul Sancya / AP

Jim Hackett, who yesterday was named Ford Motor Company president and CEO, told me in a phone interview that he hopes to transform the carmaker in part through a ferocious focus on competitive technologies like self-driving cars, where Detroit has been losing to Silicon Valley.

  • Hackett: "All-emergent technologies go through a lot of phases, and so we've got a huge opportunity there and are very optimistic about it. It would be wrong for anybody to believe that there's a leader that's got a guarantee there."
  • Hackett said he also plans a shift in culture, with more of a focus on "servant leadership": "We care about our people. We care about what they're going through more than we do ourselves, and you really have to live that."
  • Why he was picked: A key reason for the choice of Hackett, who succeeds the retiring Mark Fields, is that he was the first head of Ford's Smart Mobility subsidiary, which is designed to compete like a startup.
  • A book he recommends: "Creative Confidence," by Tom and David Kelley.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Hackett's boss, told me in the same interview that with "all the competitors that are coming into our space," quicker decision making is one of the biggest changes he wants for the mammoth company: "The clock speed just keeps getting faster and faster."

Go deeper