Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn announced it is strengthening its leadership team through the promotion of Kiersten Robinson to general manager of family vehicles within Ford Blue as well as president of Ford’s operations in Mexico and Canada.
Robinson served as the company’s senior human resources executive for the last four-plus years, and has been with Ford for 27 years. Replacing her as chief people and employee officer is Jennifer Waldo. The company also added Christopher Smith as chief government affairs officer.
“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,” says Jim Farley president and CEO of Ford. “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 as a labor relations representative in Australia, her home country. A series of Ford HR leadership assignments in Asia Pacific and Europe preceded a move to the company’s headquarters in Dearborn in 2002.
She was made head of human resources for Asia Pacific and Africa in 2010 before being appointed HR lead for the Americas 2016, with responsibility for global markets added in early 2017. Robinson was named chief human resources officer in 2018, and to her present role in 2020.
Waldo has been leading change in organizations for more than 20 years, the past 10 in Silicon Valley. At Apple, she led 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.
“Jen has incredible experience and a track record of helping companies across different industries build talent and culture to support innovation and growth,” says Farley. “She will be an invaluable addition as we build a diverse, high-performance team to deliver the Ford+ plan.”
Prior to Apple, Waldo spent a combined 17 years with two GE business units. At GE Digital, which delivers software and industrial Internet of Things services to industrial companies, she led the hiring and building of software talent capabilities across GE’s industrial businesses.
Before that, she was with GE Aviation, starting in several plant HR roles and eventually managing global HR for sales and the avionics business. She later led organization and talent development, including inclusion and diversity, recruiting, and executive development, across the enterprise.
Smith will add to Ford’s policy capabilities as the company carries out priorities in the U.S. and around the globe in rapidly evolving areas such as connectivity, electric vehicles, and digital services, and in ways that benefit customers, society, and the environment. He succeeds Mitch Bainwol, who retired from Ford at the end of 2021.
“Chris has devoted his career to shaping progressive energy policy and driving toward a more sustainable future,” says Steven Croley, chief policy officer and general counsel at Ford. “He brings tremendous passion and expertise to Ford as we shape the future of transportation.”
For the past four-plus years, Smith was senior vice president of policy, government, and public affairs at Cheniere Energy, the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas operator. While there, Smith led the incorporation of climate principles into Cheniere’s business model and influenced a modernization of federal regulations.
During the Obama Administration, Smith served as an official at the Department of Energy, ultimately as assistant secretary for fossil energy. In that role, he oversaw policy, international engagement, and research and development programs.