As Ford (F) announced that it was making changes to its executive team on Friday, the retirement of Joe Hinrichs came as a surprise. Hinrichs had been appointed to president of the automaker’s global automotive operation just months earlier, creating questions about his departure.

In a call to media, the same day, Ford CEO Jim Hackett addressed the concerns about Hinrichs, 53, exit, calling the executive “beloved,” respected, and valued, but saying that changing times were ahead for the automaker, the Detroit Free Press reported.

While Hinrichs was reportedly not on the call with reporters, he addressed his colleagues in an email, showing his appreciation for their hard work and calling upon them one last time with a request.

In his letter obtained by the news outlet, he wrote. “In those quick eight months we accomplished a lot together, starting with reinstituting a governance process that helped us run the company better with more visibility and a shared sense of purpose.”

Hinrichs wrote about the accomplishments of his team, citing Ford’s Rivian partnership, the progress of meeting CARB regulations, and an agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, to name a few. He also touched on the challenging launches of the Explorer and Aviator, the successful introductions of the Escape and Corsair, and Ford’s announcement of the all-electric Mach-E.

While Hinrichs was clear about his role and the accomplishments of his team, he requested that they keep pushing and continuing the discussion despite his absence. He said, “I am proud of how the team came together this year to change the performance of the company. Globally, we beat the sales program in January for the first time in a long time ... We started to talk about how we can grow the company again. This discussion has to continue.

“The most important thing we do as leaders is create an environment for our people to be successful — providing clarity of direction and priorities, resources and help when they need it, and support for them as teammates. It is always about Working Together as One Ford team. Leadership is about service to others. Please never forget that.”

Hinrich’s retirement from Ford is effective March 1.

Shares of Ford stock were down 0.55% as of 12:35 p.m. EST on Monday.

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The picture shows the logo of US auto-maker Ford on a car in Blanquefort, southwestern France on Feb. 18, 2019. Getty Images/GEORGES GOBET