Finance | May 22, 2017 1:05 pm

Ford Replaces CEO in Exec Shakeup That Signals Company Culture Shift

Incoming head, James Hackett, is outsider led autonomous vehicles division.

Executive Shakeup at Ford Motor Co. Signals Change of Culture to Favor Autonomous Tech
Jim Hackett, incoming chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., left, speaks as Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., listens during an event at the company's headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, May 22, 2017. Ford Motor Co. is replacing embattled chief executive officer Mark Fields with Hackett, a turnaround specialist who has been leading the automaker's moves into self-driving cars and ride sharing. (Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Ford’s CEO was basically driven out by robots.

On Monday, the car company announced a major executive shakeup with former chief executive officer Mark Fields being replaced by James Hackett. The new CEO most recently headed up the company’s unit in charge of self-driving and autonomous vehicles.

As Business Insider reports, the move signals a potential seismic shift in company culture and could’ve been “a takeover from within.” “This is … a coup from an outsider, a turnaround specialist and the head of (autonomous vehicles,)” said Paul Moran, the head of research at Northern Trust Capital Markets, in a client note obtained by the publication on Monday. He also referred to it as a “radical move.”

Ford’s stock prices had been in a free fall since Fields had taken up the company’s reins three years ago, and the move represents the more macro shift in the auto industry towards autonomous/self-driving technologies.

To that end, in an interview cited in the Wall Street Journal, Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said he’s hoping Hackett will “reinvent and reenergize the business,” an obvious nod to gaining marketshare on companies like Tesla, who have revolutionized the autonomous automobile market.

Shares were already up in pre-market trading based on the announcement of the power shift.