New Ford CEO replaces CFO, pledges stronger profit margins

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FILE - This March 28, 2018 file photo shows Jim Farley, Jr. during New York International Auto Show. On his first day in Fords top job, new CEO, Farley is replacing the companys chief financial officer and announcing other structural and management changes. The company says in a statement Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 that Chief Financial Officer Tim Stone is leaving Oct. 15 to be chief operating officer at a small artificial intelligence company. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

DETROIT – On his first day in Ford's top job, CEO Jim Farley is replacing the company's chief financial officer and announcing other structural and management changes.

The company says Thursday that Chief Financial Officer Tim Stone is leaving Oct. 15 to be chief operating officer at an artificial intelligence company. Stone had a short stay at Ford, joining the company from Amazon in April of last year.

He'll be replaced by John Lawler, a 30-year company veteran who has been running autonomous vehicle operations.

During Stone’s tenure, the company has struggled in the midst of an $11 billion restructuring plan designed to cut expenses and raise capital for spending on new technology such as autonomous and electric vehicles. Wall Street analysts raised questions about the pace of the restructuring.

Farley says in the statement that Ford has made progress under retiring CEO Jim Hackett, but he wants to speed up its transformation, which has been in the works for over a year.

The company has plans to grow revenue and hit a sustained 8% pretax profit margin, but Ford gave no time frame to reach that goal.

“We are going to compete like a challenger — allocate capital to higher growth and return opportunities to create value — and earn customers for life through great products and a rewarding ownership experience,” Farley said in a prepared statement.

Ford says it will expand its commercial vehicle business with new software services. It also plans to offer more electric vehicles around the globe including a Transit van and F-150 pickups. There also are plans for an electric Mustang, as well as unspecified SUVs including the Lincoln luxury brand.