Ford Motor Company has replaced boss Mark Fields amid investor unrest that the car giant is lagging rivals and has instead appointed a "visionary" business leader.

Jim Hackett will replace Fields, a turnaround specialist who has been leading the automaker's moves into self-driving cars and ride sharing.

Hackett, 62, joined the Ford board in 2013, and is a former boss of office furniture maker Steelcase. He will report to executive Chairman Bill Ford.

Fields will retire at age 56 after 28 years at the Michigan-based company, which employs 202,000 staff around the world.

Bill Ford said: "Jim Hackett is the right chief executive to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He's a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business."

Hackett is credited with transforming Steelcase, in part by predicting the shift away from cubicles and into open office plans. But he also cut thousands of jobs and moved furniture production from the US to Mexico to stem massive losses at the company.

The new boss at Ford added: "I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford's people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period."

Ford stock price slide

Fields took the top job at Ford in 2014 and began the carmaker's transition from a traditional automaker into a "mobility" company, laying out plans to build autonomous vehicles and explore new services such as ride-hailing and car-sharing.

But there has been shareholder disquiet over the last year that Fields had dropped his focus on Ford's core business, as popular products like the Fusion sedan grew dated and Ford lagged behind rivals in bringing long-range electric cars to the market.

Electric car maker Tesla, with a market value of around $51.1bn, has passed the valuation of 114-year-old Ford, which is worth around $43.4bn. Ford's stock price has fallen almost 40% in the three years since Fields became chief executive.

In a wide-ranging reshuiffle at the top Ford said Joseph R. Hinrichs, who leads Ford's crucial Americas division, will expand his role to become executive vice president for global operations. James D. Farley Jr., who runs the European unit, has been appointed to oversee worldwide sales and marketing. And the chief technical officer, Marcy Klevorn, will take over Mr. Hackett's duties as chief of mobility initiatives.