Ford’s chief lobbyist Ojakli taking job at GM investor, Softbank

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Ojakli, 51, has been with Ford since 2004. Photo credit: Ford

UPDATED: 6/29/18 10:46 am ET – adds background

Ford Motor Co. is losing its longtime top Washington lobbyist to an investment firm that’s investing heavily in Ford’s crosstown rival, General Motors.

The company said Friday that Ziad Ojakli, Ford’s group vice president for government and community relations, would leave the company effective July 15. No replacement was named. The Wall Street Journal reported the move earlier.

Ford did not say why Ojakli was leaving, but the Journal reported he was headed to Softbank Group Corp., a tech-savvy investment firm that earlier this year invested $2.25 billion in GM’s self-driving vehicle operations. He will start there Aug. 1, the Journal reported.

Ojakli, 51, has been with the company since 2004. In addition to his government work, Ojakli has overseen the automaker’s philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund.

“Z has been a valuable member of the Ford team for nearly 15 years,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. “During this time, he has been instrumental in driving global policy outcomes and leading philanthropic programs that support Ford’s vision for growth and a better world.”

Before working at Ford, Ojakli served President George W. Bush as a deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs.

The automaker did not immediately name a replacement, saying an announcement would come in the future. In the meantime, Ford said, Ojakli’s work will continue under the leadership of Stephen Biegun, vice president of internal government affairs.



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