Jon Huntsman appointed to Ford amid changes

Thurs Ford declared several changes to its board of directors. As well as the replacement of two retirees, a previous GOP presidential hopeful was also employed to the board.

Modifications to the board members

Ford’s CFO Lewis Booth will be retiring and will be swapped out by Bob Shanks, current Vice President and Controller. Also retiring is Derrick Kuzak, the Group vice president and Global Product Development Chief, who will be replaced by Vice President of Engineering and global Product Development Raj Nair. This was declared Thursday by Ford’s President and CEO Alan Mulally. They will be retiring on April 1.

In order to make sure the transition works well, Mulally pointed out that Shanks and Nair have both been groomed for success:

“With their experience we’re not going to miss a beat moving forward.”

Ford working with Huntsman now

Ford has brought Jon Huntsman Jr. onto the board because he has ties to China. Huntsman is a former Utah governor, GOP presidential hopeful and an Ambassador to China. The automaker is hoping that it can get ahead of some of its rivals in the Asian nation because it is currently behind. Huntsman might be able to help the business. There were no retirees from the board though.

According to Mulally:

“Jon brings to Ford’s board of directors extensive global knowledge and experience — particularly in Asia with trade issues — and operational experience gained as governor of Utah, a state that has grown jobs even during the economic crisis. Jon understands the importance of strengthening the country’s manufacturing base, which will contribute to our success going forward.”

Kuzak succeeded by Nair

Ford has changed from being a company that creates new models depending on the needs in each global region to one that only does superficial changes depending on regional preferences with one universal platform. That is because of Kuzak who has been with the business for 33 years.

Kuzak hand-picked Nair to take his spot and was approved by Mulally. Over the last couple of years, he has been taught how to take over the position, according to Autoblog. Raj Nair has been with the business for 24 years.

Booth retiring

English-born Lewis Booth has been instrumental in reducing the automaker’s debt. He formerly headed Ford of Europe. Bob Shanks, his successor, joined the company in 1977 in Accounts Receivable. He has held positions of successively better leadership since, such as controller of the company’s Americas group.

Who will replace Mulally?

There had been speculation that Booth might succeed 67-year-old Mulally as top male at the automotive giant. Those rumors have now been put to bed. At this point, his most like successor would seem to be Mark Fields, the current Executive Vice President.

Thurs, Mulally made some remarks that made it seem like he would never retire, although it is anticipated in the next couple of years:

“I looked over the press release very clearly and saw that my name was not among those retiring. I have no plans to retire.”

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