New Ford CEO Makes $11.8 Million as He Plots High-Tech Makeover

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley’s compensation rose about 41% in 2020, following his promotion and mandate to reshape the 117-year-old automaker into a leader in next-generation vehicle technology.

Farley, 58, who took over on Oct. 1, received $11.8 million in total compensation, according to a securities filing Thursday. That’s up from the $8.36 million Farley made in 2019, when he was the company’s president of new business, technology and strategy. He rose to chief operating officer in a management shakeup early in 2020, before replacing Jim Hackett as CEO last fall.

Hackett, 65, who struggled to win over Wall Street with his turnaround plan, received $16.7 million in total compensation last year, down from $17.4 million in 2019.

Ford’s fourth CEO in six years, Farley managed to reverse a long-running rout in the stock, which is up about 38% this year.

Investors have rewarded the company for boosting its bet on electric and autonomous cars, and more aggressively attacking weakness in its core automotive business. Ford now plans to spend $29 billion on electric and self-driving cars through 2025, nearly doubling its previous investment in those technologies that are upending transportation.

Farley also has moved to abandon its carmaking operations in Brazil, where Ford has lost money for years, and pledged to go almost all-electric by 2030 in Europe, where the company booked its highest quarterly profit in more than four years last quarter.

Chip, Cost Challenges

Significant challenges remain. A global shortage of computer chips has led to factory shutdowns and production cuts that Ford has said could reduce adjusted earnings this year by as much as $2.5 billion. That comes as the automaker rolls out critical new models such as a redesigned F-150 pickup, the electric Mustang Mach-E and the revived Bronco sport-utility vehicle.

The company, which suspended its dividend and had its credit rating cut to junk last year, continues to pay off debt it took on early last year on to weather the pandemic.

“We are not competitive yet on cost,” Farley said at the Wolfe Research Auto Conference in February, where he promised the company is “relentlessly and ruthlessly rooting out inefficiencies.”

Ford reported in its proxy that Farley’s annualized pay was 202 times the $61,778 earned by the company’s median worker.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford, 63, great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, received total compensation of $16 million for last year, compared to $16.8 million in 2019.

Ford scheduled its annual meeting for May 13, and it will be conducted online for the fifth year in a row. Shareholders for the 17th consecutive year will consider a proposal to strip the Ford family of its 40% voting control over the automaker and move to one vote per share. The measure is opposed by the company’s 14-member board, which includes two family members, Bill Ford and his cousin Edsel Ford II, and will grow to three when members of the next generation of the industrial dynasty take their seats.

Alexandra Ford English, 33, daughter of Bill Ford, and Henry Ford III, 40, son of Edsel Ford II, representing the fifth generation of the Ford family, have been nominated to stand for election to the board. Edsel Ford II is retiring after 33 years, but Bill Ford says he has no plans to step down.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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