Former Ford CEO Mark Fields Tried to Fire Top Exec Prior to Being Ousted Himself
Mark Fields wanted Joe Hinrichs gone just days before being removed from his position.
Major change-ups in Ford's front office have created numerous headlines over the past few weeks. The firing of CEO Mark Fields shocked the industry, and the position switches that followed have kept the pot stirring. Now, comes word of further palace intrigue: According to a recent report from Automotive News, Fields tried to fire long-time Ford Americas president Joe Hinrichs just days prior to his own May 14 exit.
The report claims that Fields intended to seek board approval for the move during the same week of his ousting. Hinrichs, a strong Ford executive, has since been promoted to the newly-created position of president of global operations.
Fields's plan fell in on itself once the board promptly decided to remove both the former CEO and ex-chief of communications, Ray Day.
Some reports say that Hinrichs' name was left out of a round of bonuses earlier in May, leading to speculation on his place in the company. Ford responded to a statement from AN, saying,
Joe is a critical part of our leadership team for taking the company forward, as he knows Ford inside and out and has led many parts of our business. We do not comment on rumor or speculation.
Over Hinrichs's near-five year tenure as president of the Americas, the company earned $38 billion in North America alone. He was a leading supervisor of the F-Series redesign, a change that has brought loads of profit to the manufacturer and helped to keep the models as top-sellers in the U.S.
Jim Hackett, the former head of furniture maker Steelcase and chairman of Ford Smart Mobility, has since replaced Fields as Ford CEO.