Mr. Hackett, 62, a longtime chief of the office furniture giant Steelcase and a former Ford director, joined the company's operational ranks last year as head of its "smart mobility" operation, which includes driverless technology.
As recently as last week, Mr. Fields, 56, had been trying to strengthen Ford's bottom line by cutting 1,400 salaried jobs. But, unable to reverse the stock decline, he ran out of time to carry out his strategy to slash costs and expand Ford's lineup of trucks and sport utility vehicles, while also investing in autonomous and electrified vehicles.
Despite spending heavily on self-driving research, Ford was struggling to keep pace with larger automakers such as General Motors and tech giants like Google, both of which have been testing self-driving vehicles. Ford is promising to have a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2021.
The upstart electric-vehicle maker Tesla — which recently surpassed G.M. and Ford in market capitalization — is bringing a mass-market model to market later this year.
At the annual meeting on May 11, Mr. Fields said Ford was capable of staying competitive in the current market for new vehicles, while also "keeping one foot in the future" of an industry heading toward autonomous, battery-powered cars.