Cleveland, Ohio – Ford Motor Co. cancelled a high-profile project slated for next year with electric pickup startup Rivian, but it doubled down on its support of the company, naming Alexandra Ford English to Rivian’s board of directors.
Ford’s director of corporate strategy and daughter of Executive Chairman Bill Ford, English replaces Joe Hinrichs, the automaker’s former president of the Americas who left in a corporate shakeup earlier this year.
“Alexandra and I share a deep passion for mobility and electrification, and her connection to Ford’s long family role in transportation is something special. I am looking forward to working closely with her and the perspective that she will bring to the Board,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian founder and CEO.
Rivian and Ford had planned to use Rivian’s electric vehicle (EV) platform to underpin luxury SUVs for Lincoln, but Ford abandoned those plans to focus on operations as its struggles to deal with COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns and sales losses. Rivian still plans to launch its own vehicles by the end of this year.
Ford made an initial equity investment of $500 million in Rivian in April 2019, and an additional equity investment in December 2019. In addition to these investments, Ford plans to develop a new vehicle using Rivian’s flexible skateboard platform, however it has not set a timeline for that vehicle.
The Rivian-based vehicle is in addition to Ford’s plan to develop a portfolio of EVs as part of Ford’s previously announced $11 billion investment.
“Our strategic partnership with Rivian plays an important role in the future of fully networked battery electric vehicles,” said Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO. “With Alexandra’s experience in mobility and self-driving services, she will bring a unique perspective to Rivian’s board during this transformational time in our industry.”
English joined Ford in 2017. Prior to joining the corporate strategy team, she was a member of the Ford Autonomous Vehicle LLC team and a member of the City Solutions team. Before joining Ford, she was responsible for managing profit and loss operations for customer-centric businesses in the merchandising divisions of Tory Burch in New York and Gap Inc. in San Francisco. English holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree from Harvard Business School.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and Today's eMobility and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 20 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.