Ford Motor is turning to the tech world for its new CFO, naming Tim Stone, formerly with Amazon and Snap, to replace Bob Shanks.
Stone, 52, resigned as finance chief at Snap, the parent of the Snapchat app, in January after less than a year on the job. He had previously spent 20 years at Amazon, rising to vice president of finance.
“We’re so excited to have Tim join Ford at this incredible time for our company as we strive to become the world’s most trusted company, designing smart vehicles for a smart world,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a news release. “He was a key player in the incredible success at Amazon and he understands the principles of fitness and growth as complementary virtues for Ford’s future.”
Stone will be the first outsider to serve as CFO of Ford since 1949. Shanks, 66, is retiring after 42 years at the automaker, having been CFO since 2012.
Analysts said Stone’s appointment underlines Ford’s commitment to rebooting itself as a supplier of not only personally-owned vehicles but also transportation, some of it automated, that is used by ride-hailing and ride-sharing services.
“Ford’s decision to hire Tim Stone for the CFO role demonstrates Ford’s continuing transformation to a new age auto company,” David Kudla, CEO and chief investment strategist with Mainstay Capital Management, told the Detroit Free Press.
According to Forbes, major automakers, including Ford, “are trying to cross-pollinate their management and engineering ranks with people from social media, online retail and other software-dominant industries.”
Stone’s departure from Snap was somewhat controversial. He reportedly had gone around the back of CEO Evan Spiegel to ask the board for a “significant” pay raise, which he was denied.
Ford said Stone “comes from the tech space, but brings an appreciation for Ford and the auto industry to the job.”
But economist Jon Gabrielsen, who advises auto companies and suppliers, noted that ‘”Amazon is a lighting-fast moving distribution company, which is the antithesis of a long life-cycle product development and manufacturing company like Ford. The two could not be more opposite in what you need to know and how you need to act.”