Top Ford execs get additional responsibilities; company touts Silicon Valley hires

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Thursday announced changes within its leadership ranks around product development and supply chain management that include expanded roles for some executives and new hires with Silicon Valley backgrounds.

Among the changes: Chief Financial Officer John Lawler will take responsibility for the company's global supply chain organization on an interim basis while the company looks for a chief supply chain officer. Lawler will be tasked with overseeing a "makeover" of Ford's global supply chain operations. Jonathan Jennings, vice president of supply chain, also will take on additional responsibilities.

The "makeover" comes on the heels of Ford warning investors that the effects of inflationary pressures and supply constraints would be reflected in the company's third-quarter earnings.

The company said Monday that "inflation-related supplier costs" would end up running about $1 billion more than originally expected. It also said it expects adjusted earnings before interest and taxes for the quarter to be in the range of $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion — well below Wall Street analysts' consensus expectation. And the automaker expects to have between 40,000 and 45,000 vehicles assembled but awaiting parts at the end of the third quarter due to supply shortages.

Meanwhile, other leadership changes announced Thursday include an expanded role for Doug Field, a former Apple and Tesla executive who joined Ford about a year ago. Field has been serving as the chief electric vehicle and digital systems officer for Ford Model e, the EV-focused business unit Ford created earlier this year. He also has been leading software and embedded systems development across the company.

Doug Field, who joined Ford last year, is taking on additional duties.

Now, as chief advanced product development and technology officer, Field will take on responsibility for design and vehicle hardware engineering. He'll continue to oversee EV products, software and digital systems development, as well as advanced driver assistance systems, according to a news release.

Lisa Drake, vice president of EV industrialization, will also now be responsible for manufacturing engineering. And Chuck Gray, who has been serving as vice president of EV technology, is now vice president of vehicle hardware engineering. Both report to Field, as does Anthony Lo, Ford's chief design officer.

The moves aim to "support the development of breakthrough electric vehicles at scale, strengthen (Ford's) internal combustion product line and transform the company's global supply chain management," the Dearborn automaker said in a news release. Ford is attempting to scale EV production to 600,000 units annually by the end of next year and 2 million units annually by 2026, even as it looks to grow its ICE business.

Lisa Drake

The automaker also announced four new hires with ties to Silicon Valley who will work on initiatives related to connected vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems. 

Roz Ho will join Ford next month from HP, where she served as vice president and global head of software. She previously worked for 22 years at Microsoft. At Ford, she'll serve as chief connected vehicle software officer.

Jae Park has joined the automaker as vice president of digital product design after previously working at Google and Amazon.

Sammy Omari, formerly of Hyundai-Aptiv join venture Motional, is now working at Ford as executive director of advanced driver assist technologies. And Rob Bedicheck, formerly of Intel and Apple, is now Ford's executive director of platform architecture.

Collectively, the team is working on technology platforms for the next generation of Ford products, the company said.

"As we enter an intense period of execution for Ford Model e and our $50 billion investment in breakthrough electric and digital vehicles, Doug, Lisa and Chuck are taking on larger roles and building out very capable teams," Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. "Developing and scaling the next generation of electric and software-defined vehicles requires a different focus and mix of talent from the accomplished Ford team and many exciting new colleagues joining our company."

Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company, poses for a photo in front of a Ford F-150 Lightning during a launch celebration for the all electric truck at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn on April 26, 2022.

Under Farley, Ford has been reshaping its workforce as it aims to execute a growth plan for the company that centers around electrification, digital connectivity and commercial vehicles.

Last month, the company confirmed it was cutting 2,000 salaried positions and 1,000 contract jobs in the U.S., Canada and India.

"As you know, we are in the midst of a significant transformation of our company. Our industry and the business environment in which we operate are changing with breathtaking speed," Farley and Executive Chairman Bill Ford wrote in a memo to employees.

At the same time, the company has been bolstering its talent ranks in areas such as software development.

“We absolutely have too many people in certain places. No doubt about it. And we have skills that don’t work anymore. And we have jobs that need to change. And we have lots of new work statements that we’ve never had before," Farley said in July. 

Meanwhile, the automaker on Thursday also announced some changes within Ford Blue, its newly-created unit focused on legacy internal combustion products. The automaker in March announced an internal restructuring to separate the EV and ICE businesses into separate units.

Jim Baumbick – previously vice president of industrial platform, operations and new model launch at Ford Blue and, before that, vice president of enterprise product line management – will take on an expanded role as vice president of product development operations, cycle planning and internal combustion engine programs. In that role, Baumbick will "oversee the development of all Ford Blue products, as well as lead cycle planning, vehicle development engineering and product development operations for all of Ford," according to a news release.

He'll report to Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue. But he'll also work closely with Field's team on company-wide product development initiatives.

The staffing realignments come as Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief industrial platform officer, prepares to retire Oct. 1 – a move that had been previously announced. And in other news, Dave Filipe, vice president of vehicle hardware modules, will retire Dec. 1 after a 30-year career with Ford.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski