Ford plans to fire CEO Mark Fields amid slowing sales in the US and Chinese markets, a source familiar with the matter said Monday.
The US auto maker is expected to name Jim Hackett, who is currently responsible for the autonomous vehicle division, to replace Fields as part of a major management reshuffle, the New York Times reported.
Ford has scheduled a press conference for 9:45 am (1345 GMT) at its Dearborn, Michigan headquarters.
Jim Farley, a former Toyota CEO who has helped Ford to return to profitability in Europe as General Motors recedes, also is expected to be named to a senior position, the source said.
Most executives who were promoted by former Ford chief Alan Mulally, who led the company for eight years until 2014, are expected to either move or leave the group.
These changes come at a time when Ford is going through a tough time. The share price has lost more than a third of its value in three years and it was supplanted in April by upstart electric carmaker Tesla in terms of market capitalization.
Contacted by AFP, Ford neither denied nor confirmed this information.
“We are staying focused on our plan for creating value and profitable growth,” spokesman Mike Moran said in an email.
Like its US competitors, Ford faces its first downturn since 2009, after several years of record sales.
The group’s profits plunged by 38 percent in 2016, a trend that was confirmed in the first quarter, while costs exploded. As a result, the group recently announced it was cutting 1,400 jobs in North America and Asia.
Fields has lead Ford for just three years and has wanted to turn the company into a mobility services group in the hope of containing the Silicon Valley offensive In the automobile industry.
Indeed, there is a race against time is currently pitting old-school carmakers against Alphabet (Waymo), Apple, Uber and Tesla to develop and market the autonomous car by 2020.
Despite the many investments made by Fields, investors prefer to bet for example on Tesla, which has technology in its DNA.
Fields spent 28 years at Ford where he led the group’s operations in North America and was credited with restructuring the European operations as well as Mazda, in which Ford had a significant stake.
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