Lincoln Chief Taking Over Ford Job Vacated by Ousted ExecBy
Management shakeup is third since Ford named new CEO in May
‘Everybody is anxious about where Ford is going,’ analyst says
Ford Motor Co. promoted its marketing chief and head of Lincoln to lead North American operations a day after ousting a top executive for “inappropriate behavior,” the third major management shakeup at the automaker in about eight months.
Kumar Galhotra, 52, is taking over the carmaker’s most important business unit after the company investigated his predecessor, Raj Nair, and found he had engaged in behavior “inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.”
Galhotra was promoted to chief marketing officer four months ago when Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett made a second round of management changes since taking over the top job in May. Nair’s departure -- for transgressions Ford has declined to detail -- created a significant void the company acted fast to fill as it struggles to pad profits and faces questions about the CEO’s turnaround plans.
“Everybody is anxious about where Ford is going,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst for researcher Autotrader. “This just adds to the disruption.”
Ford rose 0.2 percent to $10.62 as of 10:59 a.m. in New York. The shares have declined 15 percent this year.
Moody’s Investors Service changed its rating outlook on Ford to negative from stable last month, citing an “erosion” in operating discipline, and said Hackett faces challenges with the “fitness redesign” he’s announced to revive the automaker. The company has predicted profit will fall this year as it begins to embark on $14 billion in cost costs, spends on electric and self-driving cars and reorients the lineup around sport utility vehicles.
Ford named Joy Falotico, one of the few women within its senior executive ranks, the new group vice president of Lincoln and head of the automaker’s overall marketing efforts, effective March 1. Falotico and Marcy Klevorn, head of Ford’s mobility unit, are the automaker’s top female executives.
Falotico, 50, has been CEO of Ford Motor Credit, the automaker’s lending unit, since October 2016. Last year, Ford Credit earned pretax profits of $2.3 billion, up $431 million over 2016. Falotico remains chairman of Ford Credit, but her CEO role is being filled by David McClelland, 48, who had been running the company’s global marketing and operations in Asia.