Ford COO Jim Farley, considered to be heir apparent to current CEO Jim Hackett, would be awarded a stock grant worth US$2.5m in unrestricted shares of Ford common stock if not chosen as his successor, according to an SEC filing cited by CNBC and other news agencies.
"What you're asking about is a long term incentive for a highly accomplished, highly regarded executive who's playing a major role in transforming Ford into a leader in the emerging era of smart vehicles for a smart world," Ford told CNBC.
The business news TV channel and website said Farley started as COO on 1 March, weeks after being named to the position in connection to the unexpected retirement of Joe Hinrichs who had headed Ford's automotive operations.
CNBC said based on Friday's closing price of Ford shares ($5.63, up 5.2%: $5.08, down almost 10% at 16:13GMT), Farley would receive more than 444,000 shares of the company. In the past year, the stock had declined 34%, including 39.5% in 2020.
If Farley is offered the position and he declines the role, the grant will not be made, CNBC said, citing the filing.
Such an incentive is likely a move by the company to retain Farley for the long-term regardless of if he's leading the company or not, CNBC said.
CNBC noted that, last month, Hackett said he planned "on staying in this job and working with Jim [Farley] tightly to now realise the value that we've been promising".
The report added Hackett did not put a timeframe on how long he plans to stay at Ford though the company is in the middle of an $11bn restructuring plan through the early 2020s which Hackett started.