Ford management continues a media tour in which it slowly signals layoffs. The most recent example is a comment by its chief financial officer. CFO John Lawler told Yahoo! Finance that “We’re working on reshaping the company to deliver our Ford+ plan, so there are some areas and some skills that we’re going to have to reduce.” In other words, it is not a question of what, but when.
CEO Jim Farley has made related comments, and he would not let Lawler discuss the matter without his permission.
Bloomberg News has reported that Ford will cut 8,000 jobs. Figures that have bounced around the press have been inconsistent.
Ford won’t give out more information, because it does not have to. And, it may want to put off a morale problem as long as possible, although the rumors do not help.
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One of the odd things about Ford is that, despite a stock which has been blitzed by Wall Street, top management members have kept their jobs. Shares have lagged well behind global industry leader Toyota. Ford’s stock is down 33% so far this year. Toyota shares have declined 14%. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is off 14.7%.
Ford remains in a position where Wall Street wants to see something definitive about how it can navigate the auto industry’s future. The company has the tools to do so. The new F-150 Lightning proves this. However, stocks do not trade down sharply unless there is a reason.
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