A little more than two months after being appointed Ford Motor Co.’s Chief Operating Officer, Jim Farley is further putting his stamp on the automaker with a reorganization of the company’s top executives and responsibilities.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett has been looking to focus the automaker’s efforts on becoming a leaner, more efficient operation while spurring innovation and leadership on the product and technological front. This effort, called the Creating Tomorrow Together transformation plan, has been slow going.
However, Hackett put Farley, who was leading Ford’s New Businesses, Technology & Strategy team, helping the company determine how to capitalize on the powerful forces reshaping the industry – such as software platforms, connectivity, AI, automation and new forms of propulsion, in charge of the plan, hoping he’d act as catalyst to speed it up. The moves announced Thursday are designed to do just that.
“We are moving with a renewed sense of urgency to improve the fitness of the business and improve our launches, while at the same time modernizing Ford in a way that plays to our strengths,” Farley said.
“That means putting the right team of global leaders in place, streamlining the way we work, embracing the power of connectivity, data and AI, and turning our leadership in commercial vehicles into a dedicated growth business.”
Farley put more responsibility on the shoulders of Kumar Galhotra, 54, who got an expanded role as president, Americas & International Markets Group. As part of this broader responsibility, he reports directly to Farley and the North America, South America and International Markets Group business units will report to Galhotra.
He is also responsible for the P&L of the business units including a newly established commercial vehicle business for the U.S. and Canada. Galhotra’s new organization will drive faster enterprise-wide decision-making and further efficiencies to better serve customers and adapt to changing market conditions, the company said in a statement.
Lisa Drake, 47, is now add the title of chief operating officer, North America, to her current job as vice president, Global Purchasing, responsible for all category management processes and procurement functions across direct and indirect Purchasing areas, as well as supplier technical assistance.
While reporting to Galhotra, she’s expected to enhance focus to product launches, warranty cost reduction and material cost improvements. Perhaps most importantly, Drake is charged with leading the push to return the North American business back to a 10% EBIT margin — one of the main sticking points in Hackett’s plans for the company.
Ted Cannis, 53, was named general manager, Commercial Vehicles, for the U.S. and Canada — another newly created position. Cannis is expected to grow the Commercial Vehicle business. The title calls for him to find new ways to meet the needs of the company’s commercial vehicle buyers. He also reports to Galhotra.
Retired Col. Gil Gur Arie, 44, joins the company from a distinguished career in the Israeli Military Intelligence Corps as chief, Global Data Insight and Analytics, and reports to Farley. Gur Arie brings vast and unique experience to Ford in big data and AI, information technology, digital-age human-machine aspects and multi-domain large scale analytics.
In short, he’s going to be in charge of making sure Ford’s growing campus in southwest Detroit, highlighted by its acquisition and subsequent ongoing renovation of the old Detroit train station lives up to its billing — and expenditures. This means that Ford will drive efficiency and gain understanding from connected vehicles, amongst other modern capabilities, to better serve the customer and improve the company’s fitness.
Additionally, Lyle Watters, 54, takes on an expanded role as president, South America & International Markets Group, reporting to Galhotra. Mark Ovenden, 55, continues in his current role as president, International Markets Group. He will report to Watters. All appointments take effect May 1.