New Ford CEO relies on veterans to reboot profits

BENGALURU/DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co F.N on Thursday reshuffled senior management and brought back a former executive from Uber Technologies Inc, signaling its new chief executive officer will rely on tested company veterans to turn Ford around rather than outside talent.

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James Hackett, named CEO on Monday, has said he wants to streamline Ford's hierarchy and speed up decision-making, as the No. 2 U.S. automaker faces threats from Silicon Valley's self-driving technology and resurgent rival General Motors Co GM.N in its traditional markets.

Ford said it hired Sherif Marakby as its new vice president in charge of its autonomous and electric vehicle efforts. Marakby had been hired away from ride-hailing company Uber [UBER.UL], where he was vice president of global vehicle programs. Prior to joining Uber last year, Marakby was at Ford for more than 25 years and worked on hybrid and electric vehicles.

The automaker said it will also combine its purchasing and product development operations under Hau Thai-Tang, previously head of global purchasing. Thai-Tang, 50, will have the task of simultaneously accelerating vehicle development and reining in costs as rival GM unleashes a volley of models aimed at the heart of Ford’s product lineup.

Raj Nair, currently Ford’s executive vice president of product development and chief technical officer, will take over as president, North America, effective June 1, the company said. He will be responsible for operations that generate about 90 percent of Ford’s global profits.

In other moves, Ford named Steven Armstrong as head of Europe, Middle East and Africa and Peter Fleet as chief of Asia Pacific and China.

Armstrong is currently chief operating officer for Ford of Europe, while Fleet is in charge of sales and marketing for the Asia-Pacific region.

Last week, the company announced plans to cut 1,400 white-collar positions and is expected to make significant cost cuts in the coming months.

Hackett, who replaced Mark Fields, is the latest in a line of non-family CEOs given a mandate to change the management culture at one of the auto industry’s oldest institutions.

Ford shares fell 1.7 percent to $10.77. The stock is down about 36 percent since Fields took over three years ago at the peak of the U.S. auto industry’s recovery from the crisis of the last decade.

Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Rigby