Ford moves top HR exec into new Ford Blue role, makes other leadership hires

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Ford Motor Co., seeking to fill the leadership team of its newly created Ford Blue division, said Kiersten Robinson, its top human resources executive, would become general manager of Ford Blue’s family vehicles as well as president of Ford’s operations in Mexico and Canada.

Robinson will report to Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, and the move will formally take effect in mid-May, the automaker said Monday.

“Kiersten is a transformational leader who has been instrumental in supporting Ford’s business and global team for nearly three decades through innovative people, talent, employee safety and workplace experience solutions,” CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. “Now she’s taking on a critical global operating role within Ford Blue as president of Mexico and Canada, as well as leading our Family Vehicles product line that includes the popular Ford Explorer, Expedition and Everest.”

Robinson joined the company in 1995 and has held a number of roles. She has been Ford’s chief people and employee experiences officer since 2020, and she played a key role in shaping the automaker’s remote work plans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ford also announced Monday it has hired Jennifer Waldo from Apple to replace Robinson as chief people and employee experiences officer, effective in mid-May. She will report to Farley.

Waldo has been Apple’s vice president of People Business Partners since 2019, in charge of the team supporting all nonretail people-related functions, including software, hardware, services, design and marketing, as well as the global mobility and talent development teams, Ford said in the statement.

“Jen has incredible experience and a track record of helping companies across different industries build talent and culture to support innovation and growth,” Farley said in a statement. “She will be an invaluable addition as we build a diverse, high-performance team to deliver the Ford+ plan.”

Ford also said Christopher Smith, a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy in the Obama administration, would become the automaker’s chief government affairs officer effective April 4. He’ll replace Mitch Bainwol, who retired at the end of 2021.

Smith will report to Steven Croley, Ford’s chief policy officer and general counsel.

“Chris has devoted his career to shaping progressive energy policy and driving toward a more sustainable future,” Croley said in a statement. “He brings tremendous passion and expertise to Ford as we shape the future of transportation.”

Smith most recently was senior vice president, policy, government and public affairs at liquefied natural gas operator Cheniere Energy. During the Obama administration, he was assistant secretary for fossil energy, a role in which he oversaw policy, international engagement and R&D programs, Ford says.

He also has held managerial and analytical positions at Chevron.

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