Mark Fields, who will be dismissed as chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) today, made a total of $59 million between 2014 and 2016. The majority of that sum came in stock awards. Fields became CEO in July of 2014.
Fields was fired due to a falling stock price, investor discontent (most recently at the annual meeting) and likely concerns of the Ford family about their fortunes. William Clay Ford Jr. is the long-time executive chairman of the company. He made $41 million over the same three-year period.
Ford’s stock has dropped over the 29% in the past two years. In that time, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) shares are off 8% and those of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) are flat. Ford’s U.S. sales have deteriorated recently. The number two U.S. car company is also well behind the leaders in the European market and China. China, the largest car market in the world, is dominated by GM and Volkswagen.
Fields also has been criticized for being slow to launch Ford’s autonomous and electric car operations. Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) passed Ford in market cap recently, although its sells only 100,000 cars to Ford’s 6 million. Ford’s market cap is $43 billion, compared with Tesla’s $51 billion.
GM also has stolen the lead from Ford in the inexpensive electric car segment with its Chevy Bolt, which is priced around $35,000. The Tesla Model 3 will carry a similar price. There are nearly 400,000 preorders for the upcoming Tesla mid-market car.
There is some argument that William Clay Ford Jr. deserves a measure of responsibility for Ford’s troubles. He has been executive chairman since 1998 and served as CEO from 2001 to 2006. Ford’s best decision may be his hiring of Alan Mulally, a former Boeing executive who was considered Ford’s best CEO in decades. Mulally took over in 2006.
Ford’s new CEO will be Jim Hackett, a former head of Steelcase, who now runs Ford’s autonomous car unit. The mess Fields leaves behind is large enough that Hackett will have his hands full.