DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. on Thursday named new leaders for its autonomous vehicle unit and financing arm in a series of executive changes.
The automaker said Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles, was taking a personal leave for an undisclosed reason. It was unclear whether he would return.
Marakby, 53, is replaced by John Lawler, 53, formerly vice president of strategy, who will be in charge of shaping Ford's plans for launching a self-driving commercial vehicle fleet in 2021.
David McClelland, 50, CEO of Ford Credit, succeeds Lawler as head of strategy. Marion Harris, 49, is the new Ford Credit CEO. He had been vice president of Ford's mobility business group and was formerly the lender's CFO.
All changes are effective immediately.
Ford also announced Thursday that Kim Pittel, the automaker's vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, and Jim Holland, vice president of vehicle component and system engineering, will retire Dec. 1.
"There are always mixed emotions when wonderful people wrap up their Ford careers," Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. "It's tough to say goodbye to leaders who achieved so much for the company, but it's great to see our other talented team members have an opportunity to apply their expertise in new ways — especially during such an exciting time of growth and transformation at Ford."
Pittel, 60, a 34-year veteran, previously worked on development and launch of the Ford Mustang, Escape, Focus and Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ; global transmission and driveline engineering; quality in North and South America; and global supplier technical assistance.
She was named to Automotive News' list of the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry twice, in 2015 and 2010.
"Across the business, from manufacturing to safety and the environment, Kim has led with integrity and a commitment to do what is right for customers and employees," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president, automotive, said in the statement. "She also has been one of Ford's strongest advocates for career development, mentorship, and diversity and inclusion — simply a terrific leader."
She'll be succeeded by Bob Holycross, 48, who is global director, sustainability, homologation and compliance.
Holland, 59, who has worked at Ford for 35 years, previously was engineering director; car and truck vehicle line director for Ford Asia Pacific; chief engineer for the Ford Explorer program; chief engineer for global hybrid vehicle strategy; and chief program engineer for Range Rover vehicles.
"Jim has helped us create great vehicles for millions of customers around the world," Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product development and purchasing officer, said in the statement. "His career is a hallmark of excellence and technical breadth, across cars, trucks and SUVs and a variety of propulsion systems."
He'll be succeeded by Church Gray, 55, director of Ford's global core electrical team.