2021 ALL STAR | GLOBAL CEO
Ford Motor Co.
A teenage Jim Farley once spent a summer restoring the engine of a classic Ford Mustang before driving the car from California to Michigan.
Roughly 40 years later, as the company’s CEO, Farley, 59, is leading a different kind of restoration.
Almost immediately after ascending to the top job in October 2020, Farley made clear one of his top priorities was fixing Ford’s automotive operations. Despite some progress under his predecessor, Jim Hackett, Farley inherited a company out of favor on Wall Street and struggling to define itself amid industrywide disruption.
Nearly 14 months after becoming CEO, Farley has changed the narrative.
Ford’s long-languishing stock price has more than tripled under his watch, this month topping $20 for the first time since 2001. Its product portfolio has been overhauled with the hot-selling Bronco, Bronco Sport, Mustang Mach-E and Maverick.
And he’s reshaping Ford to focus on areas such as commercial vehicles and software services that will hinge on a slew of upcoming battery-electric models.
Once considered a laggard in the transition to electric vehicles, Ford is now vowing to lead. Under Farley, it has nearly tripled the amount committed to electrification to $30 billion through 2025. In September, the company announced a $7 billion investment to build an assembly plant and multiple battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky, which is expected to create nearly 11,000 jobs. Ford says it’s the single largest manufacturing investment in its 118-year history.
“Jim has done a great job of waking the company up and getting the company to realize the industry is shifting and changing and we better get going,” Jeff Marentic, Ford’s general manager of passenger vehicles, told Automotive News in September. “He’s come with a plan, he’s come with a vision, and he’s come with goals that everybody understands and embraces.”