Jim Farley isn't wasting any time.
When Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced his retirement after only three years on the job, Ford revealed that Jim Farley, currently the Blue Oval's chief operating officer, would be taking over as CEO on October 1, 2020. Although Ford said the two men will work together between now and then to ensure a smooth transition, Farley is already making clear he has some big plans in store.
Speaking to Reuters, Farley said he wants to expand Ford's operations into various technology fields, including software, fleet management, and electric vehicle charging. In other words, he's thinking beyond regular vehicle production. Mobility infrastructure will soon be equally as important, if perhaps not more so.
"These are new growth initiatives that could create a lot of value for the company," Farley said. "These are concrete areas that will change Ford. They're going to impact the company's future look and feel." The stock market immediately responded positively to Farley's appointment as Ford shares increased by a little over one percent the day the news broke. This is an early and hopefully positive sign of things to come.
Since Hackett arrived in 2017, Ford has lost about 40 percent of its value. Its current market capitalization is $27 billion. That may seem like a lot but in reality, it's one-tenth of Tesla's.
The recent debut of the 2021 Ford Bronco went extremely well as pre-orders for the SUV continue to arrive. The Ford Mustang Mach-E all-electric performance SUV is another exciting new vehicle that'll be going on sale shortly. The best-selling Ford F-150 has also been completely redesigned.
However, cool new models like those won't be enough to sustain Ford in the coming years. Being at the cutting-edge of numerous technologies will. Mainstream automakers are being forced to rapidly adjust to an emerging new landscape where private auto ownership is expected to change as environmental, economical, and transportation alternatives such as ride-sharing come to the fore.
Farley's comments seem to indicate he's got his pulse on what needs to happen.