Ford chairman praises CEO, mulls lithium venture – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – March 12, 2019)

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford said on Tuesday that he is very confident in Chief Executive James Hackett’s leadership and that the automaker is considering striking supply deals with a lithium producer.

Ford, the second-largest U.S. automaker, is in the midst of a restructuring of global operations and is spending $11 billion to bring 40 electrified vehicles to the market by 2022, part a move by the company to take part in the electrification trend sweeping the automotive industry.

Michigan-based Ford has also announced a commercial vehicle alliance with Germany’s Volkswagen AG, with plans to jointly develop electric and self-driving vehicles.

Still, attempts to ramp up electric vehicle production have been uneven. Ford’s 2018 profit disappointed many investors and analysts, sparking questions about Hackett’s tenure.

Hackett, a former executive with furniture maker Steelcase Inc , has been in his role for nearly two years and replaced Mark Fields, who was in his job for less than three years.

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