> James (Jim) D. Farley Jr., CEO
Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) Farley has only been in his job for a few months, but he has been part of Ford’s problems for years. He was chief operating offer before replacing beleaguered CEO Jim Hackett, who barely lasted three years. Farley has been at Ford since 2007 and has run strategy, technology and new business. Ford’s stock is flat this year, while shares in rival General Motors are up 21%.
Farley participated at a senior level as Ford failed to move rapidly into electric and autonomous cars, as global rivals like Volkswagen and Tesla make swift advances. Despite some improvement, Ford continues to lag in China, the world’s largest car market. Ford’s biggest product launch this year was a new version of the niche Bronco, which will only be a rounding error on Ford’s financials. Farley’s biggest challenge is William Clay Ford Jr., who churns through CEOs rapidly and has control of Ford through family trusts.
> Arvind Krishna, CEO
Krishna took over from Ginni Rometty, who badly crippled International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) in her eight years as CEO. She remains as executive chair of the board.
IBM’s persistent year-after-year series of quarters in which revenue dropped appears to have no end. Its move into cloud computing, which it continues to say is the most critical factor in growth, continues to leave it well behind leaders Amazon, Google and Microsoft. IBM has not been able to make the case it has any chance to make progress against any of them. Almost all the company’s other lines of business are shrinking rapidly.
IBM shares are down 5% this year, while Amazon’s are 71% higher and Microsoft’s are up by 36%. Krishna has been given the job to wipe IBM’s screen clear of Rometty’s mistakes and then to turn things around. It won’t happen.
> Jeff Gennette, board chair and CEO
Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) said revenue dropped to $4.0 billion from $5.2 billion last year when it released results for the third quarter. The company continues to retreat as its national store footprint gets smaller. Same-store sales fell just over 20% in the most recent period. Digital sales “penetrated” at 38% of comparable store sales, which means physical store sales must have been dismal. While that number seems strong, it is not nearly enough to cover Macy’s retreat.
Macy’s needs to win online, given the level of competition it faces in both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail. It has done neither. Its shares are off 31% this year.
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