After barely scraping a profit last year, Ford has appointed Jim Farley as its new COO.
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Last week after Ford announced its 2019 fourth quarter results, the automaker announced it had appointed Jim Farley as chief operating officer (COO), while Joe Hinrichs, president of the automotive division, will retire from the firm on March 1.

Farley (below) steps up from his role as head of new business, strategy and technology. He joined Ford as the global head of marketing in 2007 after spending 17 years at Toyota where he helped launched the now-defunct Scion youth brand, and was the general manager of Lexus in the US.

Since joining Ford his roles have included being president of Ford of Europe, and head of Lincoln, where he helped to launch the luxury marque in China.

He will report to Ford CEO Jim Hackett, and his elevation to the COO post of COO makes it likely he will succeed Hackett when he chooses to retire.

"Jim's passion for great vehicles and his intense drive for results are well known. He also has developed into a transformational leader with the imagination and foresight to help lead Ford into the future," Hackett said in a prepared statement.

Above: Jim Farley, Ford's new COO.

Hinrichs, a 19-year veteran at the firm, will retire in March and is widely seen as shouldering the blame for the production and quality issues which have beset the new Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.

Ford blamed the slow rollout of these critical and profitable new models for reducing fourth quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by 81 per cent to US$215 million ($318 million).

The company posted a US$1.7 billion ($2.5 billion) loss in the fourth quarter of 2019, which was due mainly because of a US$2.2 billion ($3.3 billion) accounting charge for pension liabilities.

For the full 2019, Ford managed to eke out a profit of just US$47 million ($70 million).

Global sales dropped 10 per cent to around 5,386,000 units last year. Although every region recorded falls, the biggest were in China (down 27 per cent to 535,000), South America (down 19 per cent to 295,000), and the Asia Pacific region (down 14 per cent to 279,000).

Locally, Ford registered an 8.4 per cent fall to 63,303, although this did mean the brand was more popular for the first time in many-a-year than Holden, which slipped 28.9 per cent to 43,176.