DETROIT — Part of Jim Hackett's deep-thinking management style involves sorting through problems using an imaginary bull's-eye with the words "now," "near" and "far" in concentric circles.
After three-plus years enacting sweeping changes as CEO of Ford Motor Co., Hackett departs believing he set the automaker up for success in the near term and into the future. But he never quite mastered the "now."
Ford's stock has fallen roughly 38 percent under Hackett's watch, and he couldn't overcome investors' initial impatience with a slow-developing restructuring plan, even after taking major actions such as cutting thousands of jobs and eliminating low-margin sedans. Ford's profits have disappointed in each of the past two years, and any financial progress this year was stunted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Hackett has flattened Ford's bureaucracy, paved the way for a more profitable vehicle portfolio and set up the company to be a player in connected technology. But a combination of self-inflicted wounds and forces outside Ford's control means the 65-year-old will leave the nation's No. 2 automaker with mixed results.