The outgoing CEO is leaving to pursue another opportunity.

Ford Australia has announced Kay Hart will replace Graeme Whickman as president and CEO, effective today.

Hart previously worked as global battery electric vehicle manager, customer and digital experience at Ford, having also served as managing director for Ford Philippines between 2013 and 2015.

She started with the company as part of the New Zealand marketing team in 1998.

“Kay is a proven leader, highly motivated by consumer insights and dealer relations,” said Peter Fleet, Ford Asia Pacific vice president and president. Hart will report to Fleet during her time in charge.

“She has broad experience across the company and around the globe. With strong knowledge and relationships in Australia and New Zealand, Kay will be a wonderful addition to our leadership team and a strong advocate for our customers and dealers.”

Graeme Whickman is leaving the company to "pursue a new opportunity" elsewhere, after two decades at the Blue Oval.

“I know I leave a much stronger Ford Australia and New Zealand than only a few years ago, a company that has a strong and vibrant future,” Whickman said.

“The industry is undergoing rapid change, and I have confidence the local leadership teams have the right plans in place to be successful. They will continue to be held up in the Global Ford world as great examples of what happens when good, focused strategies are supported by committed and skilful employees and dealers.”

Ford finished May in fifth place on the sales charts, behind Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai and Mitsubishi.