New boss Bill Ford said he was selected to take over from chief executive Jacques Nasser because the Ford board of directors saw him as the right person to "heal" the company. The man, who says he bleeds Ford blue, has promised to make changes.
New boss Bill Ford said he was selected to take over from chief executive Jacques Nasser because the Ford board of directors saw him as the right person to "heal" the company.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to move this company forward," he said. "The board felt this was necessary to happen. I’m glad to be able to step in and do it. I am willing to do it for as long as the board would like me to serve. I do plan to do this for the foreseeable future."
Ford assured employees at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Dearborn on Tuesday that things would change at the embattled manufacturer now that he was taking over. Nasser’s departure was barely mentioned.
Reference to the former boss in a company announcement, simply stated: "Jacques Nasser is retiring from the company, effective immediately."
Ford would not criticise Nasser, but said the company had moved "too far away" from its core business recently and that would change. He also said one of his big aims was to rebuild employee and dealer relations. Many dealers had been openly critical of Nasser.
Ford introduced new chief operating officer Nick Scheele and newly appointed vice-chairman Carl Reichardt. Also gone are David Murphy, vice-president of human resources, and Jason Vines, vice-president of public affairs.
Ford said the board of directors had approved the changes on Tuesday. He then added that he had been talking with the board "quite closely for the last month," indicating that the changes had been in the pipeline for a while.
"Jac and I met Monday afternoon, and we both decided this was the right thing to do," Ford said. "While it wasn’t a wonderful discussion for either of us, he couldn’t have been more cordial about it.
"The sole reason for these changes is to ensure the ongoing health of Ford Motor Company," said Ford. "We need to get our focus back on the basics of our business, building great cars and trucks.
"Some of the things we’ve done in recent years have made a lot of sense, but some of the things aren’t working out very well," said Ford.
"We clearly have lost focus in several areas. Some of it was chasing a strategy, but there were also outside things like Firestone that distracted management. There’s no question we need a renewed focus on building better cars and trucks."
Touching on the fact that some employees are suing the company about its controversial evaluation programme, Ford said he realised the value of rebuilding relationships. Starting right here within the Ford Motor Company with our own employees," Ford said.
"That’s going to be a major effort of mine. We can’t rebuild the business without good partners, so a lot of my personal time will be spent on those relations with dealers, the UAW, our white-collar employees, suppliers, the government and Wall Street. A lot of these relationships are important to us but are broken or not healthy."
Ford ended his speech with an emphatic "I love this company. I bleed Ford blue."