5 Things You Might Not Know About Ford CEO Jim Farley

On Oct. 1, 2020, Jim Farley became the 11th CEO in the history of Ford Motor Company F.

Farley is experienced in the automotive industry and has family ties to Ford. Here are five things you might not know about Ford's CEO.

1. Farley Is An Auto Industry Vet: Jim Farley spent time from 1990 to 2007 with Toyota Motor Corp TM. Before coming to Ford, Farley was in charge of the Lexus luxury brand for Toyota.

At Ford, Farley held several roles over the course of the 2007 to 2020 period: Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Sales & Services; Executive Vice President of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa; President of New Businesses, Technology and Strategy; and Chief Operations Officer.

While running the Ford Europe regional unit, the segment had its highest profitability at the time in 2016 with Farley focusing on higher margin vehicles and items.

2. Is He Related To Chris? When news came out that Farley would become the CEO of Ford, many asked whether he was related to the late comedian Chris Farley.

Farley is a cousin to the late Farley, who starred in several movies and was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.”

One person who seems to know about the relation is Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk.

The Ford CEO made some comments about Tesla in April that prompted a back-and-forth between the two automotive companies.

A comment from Musk on Twitter about Ford included a clip from "Tommy Boy" of the late Farley  a video of Chris Farley in a vehicle.

The sharing of a clip of a dead relative on Twitter was considered taboo by some and acceptable by others.

3. His Grandfather Worked At Ford: Jim Farley’s grandfather Emmett Tracy was an early employee of Ford founder Henry Ford. Tracy was one of the employees who helped build the Ford Model T vehicles.

Tracy worked at the Ford River Rouge factory. Farley recalls reading issues of Automotive News with his grandfather.

Farley also visited Ford factories and learned about the company’s history when visiting his grandfather over holidays and summer school breaks.

Tracy also ran an auto parts business and car dealership in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. 

When asked for his thoughts on becoming the CEO of Ford, Farley said, “My grandfather would say ‘Proud of you, now go to work,” he told the Detroit Free Press.

4. He Knows About Cars: One of the criticisms of several nonfamily members who have run Ford was their lack of automotive knowledge. That doesn’t hold true for Farley.

Farley enjoys spending time working on classic Ford Mustangs and vintage motorcycles. The CEO, who prefers to dress in jeans and T-shirts, appreciates people who work on cars.

Farley rebuilt car engines in California at the age of 14 for extra money. The job led to being able to buy a 1966 Mustang that needed work.

“Kinda like a Johnny Cash song, after work was done, I worked on my engine and I built it one part at a time,” Farley said.

5. He Likes To Race Cars: Not only does Farley know how to work on a car, but he also understands how to race one. 

The news that Farley will continue to race cars caused some headline risk for the company and likely some new insurance policies.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford signed off on Farley continuing to race his cars as long as he was safe.

“I was very upfront with Bill about my racing and he’s been supporting,” Farley said in an interview.

Farley races a 1966 Ford GT40 and a 1978 Lola T298. Farley has taken part in several endurance races and competes in some local racetracks in California.

Farley defends his racing hobby as saying Ford was founded on racing. The Sweepstakes race in 1901 helped Henry Ford secure financing that led to the establishment of Ford Motor Co.

Ford CEO Jim Farley. Courtesy photo. 

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Posted In: NewsManagementautomotive stocksBill FordChris Farleyelectric vehiclesElon MuskFord MustangICYMIJim FarleySNL
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