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Ford plans new roles for some execs

Changes intensify focus on development, supply chains by TOM KRISHER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | September 23, 2022 at 1:47 a.m.
The Ford logo appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP)

DETROIT -- Ford is restructuring its vehicle development and supply chain operations, shuffling multiple executives just days after announcing the automaker would build up to 45,000 vehicles with parts missing amid shortages.

The Dearborn, Mich., manufacturer gave some executives new roles and said that its chief financial officer will begin reworking supply chain operations until a new global purchasing chief is hired.

The changes arrive at a time of profound change for Ford Motor Co. and the auto industry, which for more than a century have made a living by selling petroleum-powered vehicles.

Ford announced plans last month for half of its global production to be electric vehicles by 2030, but like its main competitors, the company will need to keep selling internal-combustion vehicles to fund the massive transition.

Earlier this year Ford CEO Jim Farley split the company into two units, Ford Model e to develop EVs and Ford Blue to handle internal combustion cars, trucks and SUVs.

Early Thursday, Ford announced that Chief Financial Officer John Lawler would run a makeover of its supply chain operations until the company finds a new supply chain chief.

Doug Field, who was hired from Apple Inc., will now become chief advanced product development and technology officer. He'll lead vehicle design and hardware engineering, and continue duties overseeing EVs, software and digital systems, and driver assistance systems.

Former Chief Operating Officer Lisa Drake, now vice president of EV industrialization, takes on manufacturing engineering as Ford plans to produce EVs at a rate of 2 million per year by the end of 2026.

"Developing and scaling the next generation of electric and software-defined vehicles requires a different focus and mix of talent from the accomplished Ford team, Farley said in a statement.

Ford previously announced that Hau Thai-Tang, former head of product development and purchasing, will retire Oct. 1 after more than 34 years with the company. The company announced Thursday that Dave Filipe, vice president of vehicle hardware, also will retire.

Ford revealed Monday that a parts shortage would keep many of its most profitable vehicles sitting on lots waiting to be fully assembled. The issue forced the automaker to slash its third-quarter earnings forecast. Ford also has been hobbled by problems with manufacturing launches of new vehicles and high warranty claims.

Last month the company let go of 3,000 white collar workers to cut costs and help make the long transition from internal combustion vehicles to those powered by batteries.

Governments across the globe are pushing to eliminate combustion automobiles to mitigate the impact of climate change. Companies like Ford are orchestrating the wind-down of their combustion businesses over multiple years, even though they are still generating the cash to fund EV development.

Print Headline: Ford plans new roles for some execs

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