Ford Motor Co. is losing its longtime top Washington lobbyist to an investment firm that's investing heavily in Ford's crosstown rival General Motors.
Ford said Ziad Ojakli, Ford's group vice president for government and community relations, will leave the company effective July 15. A replacement was not named. The Wall Street Journal reported the move earlier.
Ford did not say why Ojakli was leaving, but the Journal reported he was headed to Softbank Group Corp., a tech-savvy investment firm that earlier this year invested $2.25 billion in GM's self-driving vehicle operations. He will start there Aug. 1, the Journal reported.
Ojakli, 51, has been with the company since 2004. In addition to his government work, Ojakli has overseen the automaker's philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund.
"Z has been a valuable member of the Ford team for nearly 15 years," Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. "During this time, he has been instrumental in driving global policy outcomes and leading philanthropic programs that support Ford's vision for growth and a better world."
Before working at Ford, Ojakli was a deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs for President George W. Bush.
The automaker did not immediately name a replacement, saying an announcement would be coming. In the meantime, Ford said, Ojakli's work will continue under the leadership of Stephen Biegun, vice president of international government affairs.
Whoever replaces Ojakli will have a long list of tasks. Ford faces numerous challenges in Washington, including trade issues as well as the Trump administration's plan to revise fuel economy standards through 2025.
Last week, President Donald Trump said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was increasing his investment in the U.S. to $72 billion, significantly more than the $50 billion he had previously pledged.
"His $50 billion turned out to be $72 billion so far, he's not finished yet," Trump said, without providing details.
Trump's comments came at a groundbreaking ceremony for a Foxconn manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, attended by Son and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou. Foxconn is the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer.