It’s natural to turn to Bob Lutz for perspective when there is a big shake-up at a company he once helped run. And what company didn’t Lutz once help run?
At 85, Maximum Bob has more perspective than 10 auto executives — not just because of his advanced age but because of the many places he worked and the large bodies of shark-infested corporate political waters he navigated. So what does this former Ford titan say about the replacement of Mark Fields with Jim Hackett as Ford CEO?
He sees an industry in transformational mode.
“We’re in a period of very rapid change,” Lutz said. “Like it or not, the public and Wall Street have decided the days of the conventional auto industry are about over. If the CEO isn’t out there convincing the world they’re about to revolutionize transportation, the stock is going to stay where it is.”
Fields, he says, reflected another era.
“Mark Fields would have been an ideal CEO 15 or 20 years ago,” he said. “Lots of company experience, knows how to work the system, has a proven track record of getting things done, looks good, sounds good, etc. The trouble is, that won’t do it anymore.”
On Hackett, Lutz says: “I don’t think the situation is disastrous. I don’t think he’s going to have trouble improving things, but he’s going to have to be more of an emotional leader than Mark Fields.”