Ford Motor Company CFO Tim Stone is leaving the auto company after 18 months to start as CFO-COO of AI software firm ASAPP, Ford announced Thursday.
Stone is the latest finance executive to move from autos to technology, following Dhivya Suryavedara's jump from General Motors to Stripe, an e-commerce firm, in August.
The news of Stone's departure comes on the first day of new Ford CEO Jim Farley's tenure. Ford executive of over 30 years, John Lawler, who has most recently served as CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles, will replace Stone on October 15. Farley, Ford's 11th CEO, succeeds Jim Hackett, who is retiring.
Lawler began his career in Dearborn, Michigan in 1990 as an analyst. He later went on to serve in finance manager and controller positions, before eventually serving as CFO of Ford's Asia Pacific region, CEO of its China business, vice president of strategy, and most recently, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles and vice president of mobility partnerships.
"John knows our company inside-out, has a clear view and great ambition for what Ford can be," Farley said in the release. "As CFO, he will help assure we have the means to fund those ambitions."
Ford will name Lawler's successor at a later date, the company said.
Stone joined Ford in April 2019 from social-media giant Snap Inc., where he briefly served as CFO, following 20 years in finance leadership roles at Amazon.
As CFO, Stone guided Ford through the pandemic, during which time its North American factories shuttered for nearly two months, causing billions of dollars in losses.
Stone's year and a half at Ford coincided with a turnaround effort Hackett spearheaded, which failed to reverse a drop in profits, despite "cost cuts and a revamp of Ford's vehicle lineup to focus on higher-margin models, such as a new Bronco SUV slated to go on sale next year," the Journal wrote.
This spring, Ford suspended its dividend and tapped roughly $15 billion in credit lines and issued $8 billion in unsecured debt, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Detroit-based automakers (Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler) have struggled with executive talent retention, particularly as the technology sector grows and the automotive industry contracts.
Following Suryadevara's departure, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas told the Journal the challenge of attracting and retaining talented people is "the biggest risk facing Detroit's car companies.
In the release sharing Stone's departure, Farley detailed forward-looking plans for regaining profit growth and hastening turnaround efforts. He also said CIO Jeff Lemmer will be retiring, with a replacement yet to be named.
Representatives for Ford, for Stone and for Lawler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.