Jim Padilla, who became chief operating officer in April, will succeed Scheele and become a member of the board, the company said.
Ford vice-chairman Alan Gilmour will also retire, effective from February 1.
Scheele, 60, who has played a diminished role since a management reshuffle and is recovering from hip surgery, had been widely expected to retire.
"The time was right for me . . . I had already delayed retirement twice," he said. "The timing inside the company is good as well because we have got the next generation of management in place."
The British-born executive oversaw the restructuring program Ford launched in 2002, when the auto maker cut 35,000 jobs, or 10% of its work force.
"In the last three years I have helped get us back to a position which was difficult to envision some three years ago," Scheele said.