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Ford Motor Co. announced on Friday that it plans to appoint a new chief financial officer in early 2025. The current CFO, John Lawler, will also take on the role of vice chair to help lead on future strategic decisions. Sherry House, who previously served as CFO at Lucid Motors, has been hired as vice president-finance and will succeed Lawler as CFO at the designated time. Before becoming CFO, House will oversee financial planning and analysis for Ford’s automotive businesses, including Ford Blue, Ford Pro, and Ford Model e.

The role of chief financial officer at Ford has been a significant one for nearly 80 years, dating back to the post-World War II era when “Whiz Kids” were brought in to professionalize the management of the company. The most notable of these individuals was Robert McNamara, who later became president of Ford before serving as Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War. J. Edward Lundy, another key figure from this time, held various financial positions, including CFO, until his retirement in 1979. The finance staff at Ford has historically wielded substantial influence within the company, moving beyond traditional bean counting to more strategic long-term planning.

During the early 2000s, Ford faced financial difficulties and CFO Don Leclair devised a plan to use almost all of the company’s assets, including the iconic Ford Blue Oval logo, as collateral for borrowings in 2006. This strategy helped Ford avoid the government-backed bankruptcies that General Motors and Chrysler experienced a few years later. CEO Alan Mulally, who had been hired from Boeing, played a significant role in implementing the plan and securing support from Wall Street. This period marked a crucial juncture for Ford, highlighting the importance of effective financial management in navigating challenges and sustaining long-term success.

In the current decade, Ford is undergoing a major transition to electric vehicles while continuing to rely on profits from traditional internal-combustion trucks. Sherry House’s appointment as CFO signals the company’s commitment to navigating this shift effectively and strategically. The auto industry is facing unprecedented challenges and opportunities, and having a strong financial leader at the helm will be crucial for Ford’s future success. House’s experience at Lucid Motors and her proven track record in finance make her well-suited to take on this prominent role within the company.

The appointment of a new CFO at Ford is not only a significant leadership change but also a strategic decision that underscores the company’s commitment to financial stability and growth in an evolving automotive landscape. As Ford positions itself for a future dominated by electric vehicles and emerging technologies, the role of the CFO will be instrumental in shaping the company’s overall strategy and driving sustainable growth. House’s leadership as CFO will be closely watched by industry observers and investors alike as Ford continues to navigate the complexities of the global automotive market and sets its sights on long-term success and innovation.

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