Re: US:Ford COO Jim Padilla to retire July 1
Padilla out, new team takes Ford helm
Bill Ford Jr. and top execs will lead turnaround effort after Detroit-born president and COO retires.
Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News
About Jim Padilla
Title: President and chief operating officer, Ford Motor Co.
Education: Bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering and master's degree in economics, all from University of Detroit.
Career: Joined Ford in 1966 as a quality control engineer. Held management posts in product engineering and manufacturing starting in 1976. Served as director of engineering and manufacturing for Jaguar, director of performance luxury vehicles, and president of Ford's South American operations. Later named group vice president for global manufacturing and quality and president of North and South America operations.
Personal: Born in Detroit; lives in Northville, married with three adult children; collects wine, enjoys reading mysteries and history.
Jim Padilla, a fiery, no-nonsense Detroit native whose career at Ford Motor Co. spanned five decades, is retiring as the automaker's president and chief operating officer effective July 1, the company announced Thursday.
Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. will take over Padilla's responsibilities, assuming more direct control of the company at a critical juncture in its 103-year history.
He will oversee a newly formed executive operating committee made up of the company's five executive vice presidents: Mark Schulz, Anne Stevens, Lewis Booth, Don Leclair and Mark Fields.
Padilla's departure had been rumored for months as he appeared to be taking a lesser role atop Ford. Much of his heavy-duty operational duties had been ceded to Fields, who was tapped by Bill Ford last fall to head the company's Americas group and oversee the restructuring of its troubled North American operations.
Padilla, 59, is the latest in a string of executives to leave the company in the past year as Ford moves to a leaner executive structure. He has agreed to serve as a con******t to the company for one year, according to people familiar with the situation. He'll concentrate on manufacturing and overseas operations.
"Bill Ford and I have worked hard to develop and assemble the best leadership for the company," Padilla said in a statement. "We have the right team for the job at hand and it is time for me to allow them to grow even further and transition into the new roles that await them."
Bill Ford has told the company's five executive vice presidents that the automaker will not be looking outside for a new president and chief operating officer, according to people familiar with the situation.
The decision sets up a situation where either Fields or Schulz eventually could be elevated to Padilla's position or the two jobs could be split. Much will depend on how successful Fields is in turning around the company's North American operations, which lost $1.6 billion last year.
"I'm grateful for the 40 years of service Jim Padilla has given to Ford Motor Co.," Bill Ford said in a statement. "The legacy of Jim's impassioned leadership will be his tireless pursuit of excellence, his inspired championing of workplace diversity and the mentoring he practiced that paved the way for so many of our senior executives leading Ford today."
Padilla's departure means that Bill Ford will be the only company executive on Ford's board of directors. Ford did not say Thursday whether he will be replaced on the board. Ford family member and company executive Elena Ford has expressed an interest in becoming a director.
The moves Thursday comes in the midst of Ford's sweeping restructuring effort that involves shuttering more than a dozen factories and eliminating some 30,000 factory jobs over the next six years. Ford is downsizing after losing U.S. market share in each of the past 10 years.
Padilla, who turns 60 in June, signaled his intention to leave the company early during an October management retreat in South Carolina, the people said. The company asked him to stay on long enough to ensure a smooth transition.
Known for his intensity and relentless work ethic, Padilla spent 40 years with Ford and rose to prominence in the 1990s as a manufacturing expert. In recent years, though, he has told close associates he wanted to enjoy his retirement and spend time with his children and grandchildren.
"He said to me in the past that he didn't expect to be around until he was 65," said Allan Gilmour, who retired as vice chairman of Ford last year. "North America seems aimed on the right track. The rest of the company is doing relatively well. Maybe this was a good time."
Gilmour said Padilla will be missed at Ford. "No one would say he didn't give his all every day."
Jim Sanfilippo, analyst with AMCI in Bloomfield Hills, said Padilla leaves an admirable legacy.
"He's highly respected. He has been a tireless worrier and has really worked through a lot in the past 40 years," he said. "It appeared to be planned. They are flattening the organization and Bill Ford and Mark Fields are putting their hands on the tiller."
Sanfilippo said Ford still has the management depth to pull off a turnaround, but needs to work fast.
"The talent and wherewithal is there, the issue is whether they have the time to get this thing turned around," he said.
One of 11 children from a working class Mexican-Irish family, Padilla grew up in Detroit and went to the University of Detroit-Mercy. He was still in college when he joined Ford as a 19-year-old quality control engineer.
His rise in the company was a rocky one, and Padilla was rumored to have narrowly escaped the ax more than once.
He assumed his first management position in 1976. In 1996, Padilla was named president of Ford's South American operations, overseeing the company's regional restructuring effort after the failure of Autolatina, an ill-fated joint venture with Volkswagen AG.
Padilla considered this the low point of his career. In 1997, a struggling Brazilian economy forced him to cut jobs and close factories in that country.
In 1999, Padilla was appointed group vice president in charge of global manufacturing. He soon came under fire, though, when Ford's vehicle quality suffered and recalls skyrocketed. At the same time, Ford was embroiled in the Firestone tire controversy.
Despite the problems, Padilla survived the revolution that unseated CEO Jacques Nasser and saw Bill Ford take over as CEO.
A year later, Padilla was elevated to the post of president of the Americas group, the position Fields now holds.
In 2004, he became chairman of the company's automotive operations. He was elected to the board of directors in 2005 when he was promoted to his present position as president and COO.
A member of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Council, Padilla holds bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering and a master's degree in economics. A White House Fellow, he served as special assistant to the secretary of commerce in 1978 and 1979.
Padilla also chairs the Corporate Board of Advisors of the National Council of La Raza.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....