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Ford replaced its CEO with the man leading the company's self-driving car effort

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Ford Motor Co. announced Monday that Jim Hackett who is has been leading the company's self-driving car initiative will take over for CEO Mark Fields. 

Fields is retiring at age 56 after working at the company for 28 years. His replacement, Hackett, has led Ford's mobility unit since March of 2016. 

“We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,” executive chairman Bill Ford said in a statement.

 “Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.”

Ford replaced its CEO with the man leading the company's self-driving car effort

WATCH  |  Jim Hackett is introduced as Ford's new CEO

Before signing on at Ford, Hackett was the CEO of the office furniture company Steelcase Inc. 

In a press conference at Ford's headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, Hackett said that while the company does a lot of things right, it's not great at handling complex strategy. That's something Hackett said he hopes to change by creating a small executive team that sets goals and communicates those to the rest of the company effectively. 


"The biggest challenge I had (at Steelcase), and I will have here, is to have everybody see the future. They can see their opportunity in that. And secondly, that it's our right to win and we don't have to cede that to anybody, Tesla or any of them," Hackett said. "I love that challenge because I know how to do that."

Fields served as the company's CEO for three years and recently came under fire for declining stocks, among other things. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Ford replaced its CEO with the man leading the company's self-driving car effort

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