Ford changes management, seeks new head of global supply chain

Ford is restructuring its vehicle development and supply chain operations, reshuffling several executives just days after announcing it would make up to 45,000 vehicles that are missing parts due to shortages.

The Dearborn, Michigan automaker has given some executives new roles and said its chief financial officer will begin reworking supply chain operations until a new global purchasing chief is hired.

The changes come at a time of profound change for Ford and the auto industry, which for more than a century has made a living selling petroleum-based vehicles. The company has plans for half of its global production to be electric vehicles by 2030, but like its main competitors, Ford will need to continue selling gasoline vehicles to finance the massive transition.

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

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

Doug Field, who was hired from Apple Inc., will now become director of technology and advanced product development. He will lead vehicle design and hardware engineering, and continue his roles in monitoring electric vehicles, software and digital systems, and driver assistance systems.

Former COO Lisa Drake, now vice president of electric vehicle industrialization, takes over manufacturing engineering as Ford plans to produce electric vehicles 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 approach and mix of talent from the Ford team,” Farley said in a statement.

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

On Monday, Ford revealed that parts shortages would keep many of its most profitable vehicles in batches waiting to be fully assembled. The problem forced the automaker to cut its third-quarter earnings forecast. The company has also been hampered by problems with new vehicle manufacturing launches and elevated warranty claims.

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

Governments around the world are pushing to phase out combustion cars to mitigate the impact of climate change. Companies like Ford have been organizing the liquidation of their combustion businesses for several years, even though they are still generating the cash to finance the development of electric vehicles.

Ford shares fell less than 1% on Thursday.

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