Key events under former Ford CEO Mark Fields

Hackett's career background is diverse, including serving as CEO of office furniture maker Steelcase, and more recently as interim athletic director at the University of MI.

Ford said Hackett will focus "on three priorities: Sharpening operational execution, modernizing Ford's present business and transforming the company to meet tomorrow's challenges".

Fields, who will retire from Ford, also led a $1.6 billion project to build a small-car assembly plant in Mexico, a plan abandoned earlier this year, as small vehicle sales slowed and the election of President Donald Trump increase pressure on US auto manufacturers to build products within the United States. Ford's stock has fallen nearly 37 percent over Field's three years as CEO.

He replaces Mark Fields, who was dismissed abruptly from the top job, as the company responded to investors' growing unease about its slumping stock price and business prospects.

We particularly like this move: Farley is a auto guy through and through, helping Ford reshape its products and, yes, racing his vintage Cobra every chance he gets. Automotive News says Ford board members had reportedly been questioning Fields' strategy for the company's future.

Ford started its week off with sweeping changes.

December 2015: Ford ends the year with a 14.9 percent share of US new vehicle sales.

GM CEO Mary Barra is fending off attacks from hedge fund Greenlight Capital and its leader, Mr David Einhorn, who wants to install three new directors on the carmaker's board, and split GM's stock into two classes. He led a turnaround at Mazda with several Ford executives with whom he later worked to revive the automaker's North American business.

May 2017: Ford announces it will cut 1,400 USA salaried jobs by September in an effort to trim costs.

Jim Hackett, the man replacing Mark Fields as Ford CEO, has a history with the University of MI and star football coach Jim Harbaugh.

His expertise in machine learning, 3D printing and robotics will stand him in good stead, according to chairman Bill Ford. "We had to do it with great care". "He might do that well", Stadler said, "but Fields would probably have taken similar steps".

Hackett's ascension was part of a broader shakeup that saw other key executives reassigned. He retired as CEO of Steelcase in February 2014, after having spent 20 years leading the company.

Some experts said a new CEO is unlikely to change the fundamental outlook for Ford in the near to medium term. Farley moves from president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa to oversee Ford's business units, The America, Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific.