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Joe Hinrichs Retiring from Ford; Farley Named COO

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Joe Hinrichs Retiring
Ford President of Automotive Joe Hinrichs will retire on March 1
Photo: Ford Motor Company

Ford President of Automotive Joe Hinrichs is set to retire on March 1, ending a 19-year career with the automaker. The announcement of Hinrichs’ retirement was accompanied by the news that Jim Farley will become company COO and Hau Thai-Tang will expand his role to include Enterprise Product Line Management and connectivity responsibilities.

In a 1,000-word farewell letter obtained by Automotive News, Hinrichs told his team that he would be “proudly watching” the launch of the Bronco and its smaller sibling later this year, noting that he fought to bring the SUV back for nearly a decade. He also touted wins like the deal with Rivian, the company’s stand on climate change, and the successful negotiation with UAW. In December, Hinrichs was named a 2019 Automotive News All Star.

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“I thank Joe for his tremendous leadership over the past two decades,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “Joe was instrumental to Ford’s ability to survive the Great Recession a decade ago without bankruptcy or taxpayer bailout, and successfully headed Ford’s operations in Asia Pacific and North America.

“Most recently, Joe oversaw our global portfolio of iconic vehicles; helped forge a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with the UAW; and was regularly sought out as an authority and promoter of smart global trade.”  

Farley, Thai-Tang get new gigs

Jim Farley
Jim Farley becomes Ford COO effective March 1
Photo: Ford Motor Company

Hinrichs’ sudden retirement paves the way for Jim Farley — the head of the New Business, Technology, and Strategy team — to ascend to the role of chief operating officer. Reporting directly to Hackett, Farley retains his leadership over Ford Smart Mobility and the Argo AI partnership while overseeing all global markets and automotive operations. Hackett calls Farley a “transformational leader” who will guide the automaker toward its goal of an 8 percent global EBIT margin.

In addition, chief officer of Product Development and Purchasing Hau Thai-Tang takes on expanded responsibilities with respect to Enterprise Product Line Management and connectivity. He will report to Farley and will be what Hackett dubs “the primary architect” in the continued technological advances of Ford vehicles and products.

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