Jim Hackett is replacing Mark Fields as Ford CEO following a major reshuffle at the US car giant.
Mark Fields’ departure comes as Ford faces weak sales, falling profits and a near-40% decline in its share price since he took up his role in 2014.
Jim Hackett, 62, is described by the company as a “transformational business leader”.
The former boss of office furniture company Steelcase joined Ford in 2016 to run its autonomous driving division.
Jim Hackett will focus on modernizing Ford and “transforming the company to meet tomorrow’s challenges”.
Ford shares rose 1.3% in morning trading in New York.
Last week, Ford said it planned to cut 10% of its salaried workforce in North America and Asia Pacific this year, on a voluntary basis.
The auto maker employed more than 200,000 people globally at the end of 2016, including about 101,000 in North America and 23,000 in Asia.
Sales in April were down 7% in the US and 11% lower in Europe compared with the same month last year. Ford has also been hit by costs related to safety recalls.
In 2016, Ford sold 6.65 million vehicles worldwide, while rival General Motors sold 9.97 million, according to Statista.
GM reported a record performance in the first three months of 2017, with revenue 10.6% higher at $41.2 billion, helped by strong sales of trucks and SUVs in the US.
Ford’s revenue in the first three months of 2017 was $39.1 billion, a rise of 4%.
At the time Mark Fields said the quarter was “an investment in Ford’s future”.
Ford launched new vehicles and he said it was “fortifying our core business, while also investing in emerging opportunities that will deliver profitable growth”.
In recent years, Ford has been investing heavily in self-driving technology and ride-sharing services.