Ford CEO Jim Farley honored at 2023 SAE Foundation Annual Celebration

Ford President and CEO Jim Farley at the 2023 SAE Foundation Annual Celebration in Dearborn, Mich. (Gloria Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Dearborn, Mich. — Ford President and CEO Jim Farley was the recipient of the 2023 Industry Leadership Award at the SAE Foundation Gala on Tuesday evening held inside Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

Farley’s career in automobiles was inspired by his grandfather who actually worked for Henry Ford at the River Rouge Plant in 1918.  Before joining Ford, he was vice president and general manager of Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus.

“The change is turning an analog car to a digital car.  The electric and digital vehicle will be changed.  Just like an app on the phone can be changed during the day.  With digital, it will be customized for you,” says Farley.

“Trips will be more rewarding.  The journey will be the destination.  The ETA (estimated time of arrival) becomes super important.  As long as the ETA is accurate, it won’t interrupt your day.  When I left Toyota the Prius was worth $5,000 more than it was 15 years ago.   What are people willing to pay to get 40 minutes of time back?  You want to control the experience.  Urban situations are the most difficult.  Ford wants to compete for all customers.”

Emcee John McElroy from Autoline asked: “Paint a picture for the end of the decade?”  Farley stated “Our commercial business telegraphs our future of the industry.  We see huge mixups of winners and losers.  They are not gonna be the same.  When we go EV, people discard their brand preferences.  Brands can be re-shuffled.”

“The people at Ford are really valuable.  I saw my team struggling.  I watched the organization.  With the launches of the F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit, Ford has become the second-best-selling EV brand in the United States.  I see this new team come in and manage this differently.  We have to work on the future.  We have to catch up to Tesla.  How does everyone work with each other?  We’re working that out,” says Farley.

McElroy asked, “What do you do for down time?”  “I am a car person.  I love racing.  I like to compete.  On a perfect day, I like to ride in the woods on my motorcycle.  I like my family.  My favorite part of my day is throwing a softball with my 13-year old daughter.”

Patrick Brady, Vice President of Engineering, Android at Google presented the 2023 SAE Foundation Industry Leadership Award to Jim Farley.

Other award winners included:

  • Andrew Clement presented the Denso Young Industry Leadership Awards to:  Venkat Ramakrishnan, Stellantis Tech Operations Manager, Global Propulsion Systems and Umar Zakir Abdul Hamid, CEVT AB Geely Group.
  • Donald Ableson presented the Donald W. Ableson Award for Visionary Leadership to Dana Pless.
  • Don Manville presented the Gordon Millar Award to Dan & Robin Nicholson.

The SAE Foundation is the world’s leading authority in mobility standards development.  It is about inspiring curiosity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).  The SAE redefines the future of mobility and helps build brighter futures.

For more information about the SAE Foundation, visit

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