Ford Management Shake up

FILE - In this March 28, 2018 file photo, Jim Farley, Jr. executive vice president and president of Global Markets of the Ford Motor Company, is shown in this photo during New York International Auto Show. Ford is shaking up its management after a poor fourth-quarter financial performance and the botched launch of the Explorer SUV. A person briefed on the matter says that automotive President Joe Hinrichs will retire from the company. Farley, president of new business and strategy, will become chief operating officer. The person didn't want to be identified because the moves haven't been formally announced. Ford has scheduled a conference call with reporters for later Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

DETROIT — Ford is shaking up its management after a poor fourth-quarter financial performance and the botched launch of the Explorer SUV.

The Dearborn, Michigan, company says that automotive President Joe Hinrichs will retire effective March 1. Jim Farley, president of new business and strategy, will become chief operating officer in charge of global markets and automotive operations.

In addition, product development chief Hau Thai-Tang will take on an expanded role for products, services and customer experiences.

Ford’s full-year profit plunged by more than $3.6 billion last year, and it lost $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

When earnings were announced on Tuesday, CEO Jim Hackett said the company fell short of expectations for the year, and he blamed the performance largely on the flubbed launch of the new Ford Explorer SUV at its factory in Chicago.

New Explorers came off the assembly line with multiple problems and had to be shipped to a Detroit-area factory for repairs, delaying deliveries to customers and costing the company sales.

Hackett also referred to higher warranty costs during the year, especially for a glitch-prone six-speed automatic transmission in the Ford Focus compact car.

Wall Street was underwhelmed by Friday’s announcements. Shares of Ford were down just over 1% in midday trading to $8.16.

The changes come as Ford continues an $11 billion restructuring effort under Hackett, who is under increasing pressure to show results after replacing ousted CEO Mark Fields in May of 2017.

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