Ford has replaced retiring CEO and President, Mark Fields, with former Ford Smart Mobility boss, Jim Hackett, in a move expected to see the company ramp up its use of advanced technology and 3D printing.

With the change, Ford Motor Company hopes to better prepare for the future and compete with companies such as Tesla. The company has already begun implementation of new technologies with its trial use of the Stratasys Infinite Build 3D printer. Ford Motors has tested the feasibility of 3D printing car interior modules using the large scale 3D printer and expects the machine to speed up the prototyping and design phases.

The centre console of a car 3D printed by the Infinite Build. Photo via Ford.

The centre console of a car 3D printed by the Infinite Build. Photo via Ford.

Increasing 3D printing use

A statement released by Ford explains Hackett’s three priorities as, “Sharpening operational execution,” “Modernizing Ford’s business,” and “Transforming the company to meet future challenges”.

Under the second of the three prongs, Ford explains it intends to use “This includes increasingly leveraging big data, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, 3D printing and more.”

Previous CEO and President Mark Fields announced earlier this year that the company will expand its manufacturing facilities in the US to incorporate advanced technologies. The expansion was part of a $4.5 billion investment that included further implementation of 3D printing.

CEO Mark Fields made the announcement in Michigan. Photo via Clarence Tabb Jr, Detroit News.

Former CEO, Mark Fields. Photo via Clarence Tabb Jr, Detroit News.

Transforming Ford for the future

Prior to his move to the company as head of Ford Mobility, Jim Hackett was also CEO of furniture and interior design company Steelscase, a company which has itself forayed into the 3D printing industry though the “rapid liquid printing” collaboration with MIT.

Working with Ford Mobility, Hackett is familiar with advanced technology such as driverless cars, and Executive Chairman Bill Ford explains the company’s choice of leadership,

We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future. 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.

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Featured image shows Jim Hackett, appointed as CEO. Photo via Ford. 

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