DETROIT -- Days after Ford Motor Company reported profits were down by more than $3.6 billion in 2019, the company’s automotive president Joe Hinrichs announced he will retire effective March 1. According to the Associated Press, Hinrichs oversaw operations on the production of two vehicles that had issues in 2019 and were partially blamed for the profits being down.
During a earnings call Tuesday, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said problems with the newly launched Explorer SUV and transmission issues with Ford Focus models caused the company’s profits to plunge. When the Explorer’s came off the assembly line, multiple problems were reported and had to be addressed at Detroit factories which led to a delay in deliveries for customers.
However, Hackett said Friday those issues had nothing to do with the retirement announcement. Hinrichs has been with Ford for 19 years. Hackett described as an outstanding operational leader while affirming how beloved Hinrichs is in the company.
With Hinrichs’s departure, the Dearborn-based automaker will shift Jim Farley, president of new business and strategy, to the role of chief operating officer in charge of global markets and automotive operations. Along with that move, product development chief Hau Thai-Tang will take on an expanded role for products, services and customer experiences.
Farley has been with the company since 2007 where he’s led the Lincoln brand and operations in South America and Europe. Last Spring, he took over the duties of new business, technology and strategy.
“Now it’s go time,” Farley said on the conference call. “Execution. Really excited to lead the team to bring Ford’s vision to life.”
Hackett said the two work well together and are committed to working to improve the Ford brand.
“This is the kind of thing that I love to do,” Hackett said. “I’m having really a fulfilling assignment here. I’ve told everybody that I’ve fallen in love with the company.”