Ford is switching management and looking for a new head of global supply chain

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is restructuring its vehicle development operations and supply chain, shuffling several executives just days after announcing it would build as many as 45,000 vehicles with parts missing due to shortages..

The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker has given the automaker some new roles for executives and said its chief financial officer will begin reshaping supply chain operations until a new global head of procurement is appointed.

The changes come at a time of profound change for Ford and the auto industry, which has made a living for more than a century by selling petrol-fueled vehicles. The company has plans to halve its global production of electric cars by 2030, but like its main competitors, Ford will need to keep selling gas-powered vehicles to fund the massive transformation.

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

Early Thursday, Ford announced that Chief Financial Officer John Lawler will make a change to its supply chain operations until the company finds a new chief of supply chain.

Doug Field, who is hired from Apple Inc. Head of Advanced Product Development and Technology Officer. He will lead vehicle design and hardware engineering, and will continue to supervise electric vehicles, software and digital systems, and driver assistance systems.

Former chief operating officer Lisa Drake, now vice president of electric vehicle manufacturing, is in charge of manufacturing engineering as Ford plans to produce 2 million electric vehicles annually by the end of 2026.

The company also announced two new hires from Hewlett-Packard and Google to develop vehicle software and driver assistance systems.

“Developing and scaling the next generation of electric and software-defined vehicles requires a different focus and mix of talent from Ford’s talented team,” Farley said in a statement.

Ford earlier announced that Hau Thai-Tang, the former head of product development and purchasing, will retire October 1 after more than 34 years with the company. And it announced Thursday that Dave Phillipe, vice president of vehicle hardware, is retiring.

Sam Abuelsamid, principal e-mobility analyst at Guidehouse, said Farley is changing the people it hires for Ford as it joins with other automakers in developing new cars that can change over time with software updates. “Customers love having new features added over the life of the vehicle,” he said. “The industry loves it because it sees potential for new revenue streams.”

But he said the change takes a different mindset from people who are used to developing cars that haven’t changed for years until the next version is released.

He said Ford will likely face instability for a while with major changes. “They need to hire a lot of people with different skills,” he said.

On Monday, Ford revealed that parts shortages will keep many of its most lucrative cars waiting to be fully assembled. The problem forced the automaker to cut its third-quarter earnings forecast. The company has also had problems with new vehicle launches and higher warranty claims.

Last month, the company shed 3,000 white-collar workers to cut costs and help the long transition from internal combustion vehicles to battery-powered ones.

Governments around the world are pushing to get rid of combustion cars to mitigate the impact of climate change. Companies like Ford have been coordinating the cooling off of their combustion business over several years, although they still generate the money needed to fund electric vehicle development.

Ford’s shares fell 1% Thursday as the broader markets declined. Shares are down about 38% during the year.

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