DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.'s top executives Thursday promised shareholders that difficult decisions made last year are setting up the company for stronger performances in 2019 and beyond.
During the company's annual shareholders meeting, CEO Jim Hackett and Executive Chairman Bill Ford pointed to strong first-quarter earnings — and a corresponding surge in Ford's stock price — as signs that Hackett's controversial global reorganization was necessary. Since the start of the year, Ford's stock price has risen about 34 percent, and last month it topped $10 a share for the first time since August. Ford shares closed down 14 cents, or 1.35 percent, at $10.20 in New York trading on Thursday.
"I think our stock price kind of languished as a result of us slogging through some very necessary but difficult changes," Ford said. "We're not where we're going to be, we know that, but we're very pleased that the results of a lot of the hard work that took place in 2018 are starting to show in 2019 and that our stock price is responding."
Hackett, who has spent considerable time in his first two years as CEO defending his plan to Wall Street analysts, said Thursday his so-called redesign was not "moving too slowly, nor was it too futuristic," and that it is finally showing positive results.
"The optimism in the company is higher now," Hackett said. "We've turned that corner."