Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on Ford president's abrupt retirement

No one expected Joe Hinrichs, at 53, to abruptly retire from his top job at Ford. He gave no obvious signs of the decision, internally or externally. In fact, his words and actions prior to the announced exit seemed to contradict plans to leave. But Ford CEO Jim Hackett shocked the automotive world at 9 a.m. Friday when he announced in a news release the surprise exit of the company’s top manufacturing executive, the president of the global automotive operation. This just months after Hackett appointed Hinrichs to the prestigious post. Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University, said no management change should be shocking after the latest financial news from Ford. "These things are never as sudden as they seem, particularly in light of some financial and performance results," Masters said. "The turnover in the COO position represents a strategic shift as Ford positions itself for a technologically driven future. At this stage, it is critical to have a seamless team at the top focused on execution, monetizing assets, and developing product. Ford's 2019 financial results reflected declining sales and revenues, particularly in South America, Europe and China," he said. "The process of translating technological innovation into flawless commercialization needs to be accelerated, and the Hackett-Farley team seems to have the right chemistry," Masters said. "A person of the immense talent and youthfulness of Hinrichs has a lot of career opportunities ahead of him, wherever he lands."

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