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New Ford CEO promises to be a 'cultural change agent,' Bill Ford says

  • The automaker has had a longtime obsession with hierarchy, Executive Chairman Bill Ford said Monday.
  • Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally "really captured the hearts and minds of our employees ... and I think that's something you will see with Jim," the chairman added.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the company's newly appointed CEO, Jim Hackett, will be a "cultural change agent."

"[Hackett] will continue to transform the culture of Ford," Executive Chairman Bill Ford said Monday during a news conference, following the announcement that Hackett will replace Mark Fields in an effort to "strengthen" the automobile company.

Together, Ford and Hackett aspire to make the company one that embodies a "culture of caring about each other, about ideas flowing freely ..." the chairman went on.

The automaker has had a longtime obsession with hierarchy, Ford said.

"Both of us feel like over the years — what happens in big corporations — the bureaucracy and the hierarchy's probably overwhelmed what can be faster decision-making," Hackett said. "Bill gets it; he understands the culture. We are totally aligned."

Hackett further said he wants all Ford's employees to come to work "thinking they can have a great day."

Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally "really captured the hearts and minds of our employees ... and I think that's something you will see with Jim," Ford added.

Hackett, once a football player at the University of Michigan, was named chairman of Ford's mobility division in 2016 to focus on emerging businesses such as ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles.

Prior to coming to Ford, the 62-year-old Hackett was CEO of Steelcase for nearly two decades. During his tenure at the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based office furniture company, he oversaw a great deal of change, which included large-scale job cuts and a redesign of the corporate workspace to be more collaborative.

During Fields' three-year tenure, Ford stock fell 40 percent. Field found himself under fire for not keeping up with high-tech car developments.

Read: Bill Ford says new CEO Hackett will 'transform Ford for the future'