Ford is reviewing a succession plan for its CFO, but he isn't leaving just yet

Robert L. Shanks


Ford CFO Bob Shanks.

The Detroit Free Press reported on Thursday that CFO Bob Shanks could be retiring after a long career at the automaker, beginning in 1977. Shanks has been CFO since 2012.

In a statement to Business Insider, Ford said, "As all boards of responsible companies do, our board of directors regularly reviews executive succession plans to ensure we have access to the best talent available and are prepared for orderly transitions to take place should the need arise."

The Free Press didn't provide a timeframe for Shanks' departure, but the paper cited sources with knowledge of the matter who said that the groundwork for the CFO retirement was being laid.

Read more: Ford's CFO says the automaker's $11 billion restructuring plan could pay off sooner than expected

Ford is in the midst of an $11-billion restructuring under CEO Jim Hackett, and Shanks told Business Insider in an interview after the carmaker reported fourth-quarter earnings that he wasn't happy about the company's 2018 performance.

"We should have made $14 billion," he said.

Ford booked $7 million in profits globally in 2018.

Years of profits and a solid balance sheet

Shanks' retirement hasn't been rumored in the auto industry, but if he were to start considering it, he would leave Ford with a strong balance sheet, built on years of profits in North America from the sale of pickup trucks an SUVs.

He would also be moving on after over four decades with the Blue Oval. His crosstown counterpart at General Motors, Chuck Stevens, retired last year after a similar tenure with the Detroit giant. Shanks is also 66, an age at which retirement is often prepared for.

Any executive changes at Ford are likely to encourage outsized conclusions about the company, which has seen its stock slide over 30% for the past three years. Hackett assumes the CEO's job in 2017, following the ouster of Mark Fields. Wall Street has expressed impatience with his turnaround plans, and that impatience has collided with Ford's struggles outside the US market.

Get the latest Ford stock price here.

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