Ford's new CEO has many accomplishments in Michigan
DETROIT (WJBK) - Jim Hackett is the new CEO of Ford Motor Company, but he is no stranger to Ford, however the automaker's new CEO is known for many other accomplishments in Michigan.
Hackett made a name for himself in the business world as CEO of Steelcase
He is also the guy who landed Jim Harbaugh as head football coach at the University of Michigan. That happened during Hackett's stint as interim athletic director at the university.
He became a household name to michigan sports fans when he was given that title in October of 2014.
Hackett was charged with turning around an athletic department, which at the time, was reeling.
He was a major success and Bill Ford, Jr. referenced that success during the press conference on Monday.
"He negotiated and brought home the Nike deal, which was groundbreaking for any university. He then hired Jim Harbaugh.", Bill Ford, Jr.
Ford references the hiring of Jim Harbaugh.
It was one of, if not his greatest achievement during his time in Ann Arbor.
Fox 2's, Ryan Ermanni, spoke with Harbaugh by phone. He had high praise for Hackett and described him this way:
"I think his best quality is still Debalchi. With all the bright ones I've seen being able to do that makes it a team effort to where you think of it like you're on a team that was your favorite ball team when you were in little league or high school, whenever you think back and think that was my favorite team that I was on. He's got the ability to build that kind of team. He could make the tough decisions. He could make the right decisions and that's why I want to follow a guy like Jim Hackett. He gets an A+ in decision making. If you don't make the right decision, nobody will follow you anyway."
John U. Bacon, a New York Times best selling author, followed Hackett's tenure at the University of Michigan probably closer than anyone.
In his book "Endzone: The Rise Fall and Return of Michigan Football", Bacon documented how important Hackett was in luring Jim Harbaugh to Michigan.
"Do you think he's in Michigan without Hackett?"
"Nope, I'm almost sure of that. I give it about a 1% chance, almost none. Hackett was the key. He'll be a great influence at Ford with Bill Jr.. I think they're going to get along well. They're both big shots that don't act like big shots. That's very important I think. And he will get to know the people he's working with. That's his chapter in the Bo book. it's always listen before you lead and that's no accident.", said author, John U. Bacon
Hackett also played football for Michigan under legendary coach, Bo Schembechler, who instilled many of the principles that Hackett abides by to this day.
"Bo stamped him, no question about it. Open-door policy that Bo had Hackett had at Steelcase. The idea of caring about a bunch of players, but pushing them. That's Bo. That's Hackett. I can tell you right now that Bo is already very proud of him at Steelcase.He'd be thrilled with his work at Michigan and now of course Ford."
Now, as far as how the jobs compare.
"Look, Ford Motor Company is infinitely more complicated than Michigan but it's not more intense. What you're dealing with at Michigan when you become the AD at Michigan the amount of scrutiny and attention and a passion you generate is unequal really. So it's a more complicated job but in some ways it's not harder. I am betting right now that Jim will succeed again."