Ford hires EV specialist as future CFO

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Ford Motor, one of the pillars of the U.S. auto industry, has been exploring the electric vehicle subsector for its next CFO.

Sherry House, 52, who will become Ford’s vice president of finance on June 3, joins from Lucid Motors, where she spent three years helping introduce the first luxury electric car. John Lawler, Ford’s current CFO who has been promoted to vice chairman, will guide House as he transitions to the CFO role in 2025.

The move from a startup to one of Detroit’s Big Three is a surprise, but it shows Ford’s determination to become an EV player. Ford CEO Jim Farley has publicly admitted during quarterly presentations that the EV segment has been the “key drag for the company”; he expects to end 2024 with a loss of more than $5 billion in the EV division.

Ford “urgently needs to build a profitable EV business and generate new and recurring revenue streams,” Farley said in introducing House.

The future CFO arrives as an outsider, but not completely. She was instrumental in launching Lucid as a publicly traded company and previously spent several years at Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving technology subsidiary. Nevertheless, by returning to Michigan, she claims to be returning to her family roots; her grandfather was a tool and die maker at Ford and she previously worked at supplier Visteon and at General Motors.

However, she will face numerous challenges in finding a path to profitability in electric vehicles for Ford, including navigating price cuts, Chinese competition, environmental initiatives, a lack of charging infrastructure in the US and tepid demand for electric vehicles short-term. And the reception from outsiders can be brutal in the auto industry. Tim Stone, who joined Ford in 2019 as CFO of SNAP, lasted just 18 months before moving to a software company.

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