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Mulally’s Departure the Worst-Kept Secret in Detroit

Bill Ford offers praise for CEOs old and new.

by on May.01, 2014

Despite an outside search, few expected Ford to turn to anyone but Mark Fields as its next CEO.

It was, arguably, the worst-kept secret in Detroit, but even when Ford issued an early morning news alert, an advisory to attend a session at its suburban headquarters, it wasn’t ready to confirm what almost everyone already knew: CEO Alan Mulally would be retiring, his replacement to be current Ford COO Mark Fields.

That isn’t to say there weren’t a few unknowns that had Detroit’s automotive news corps racing to “Glass House,” as the Ford office tower is known. For one thing, when would the transition take place – and would it result in a shake-up among the rest of Ford’s management team.

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In fact, Mulally acknowledged he would be leaving earlier than he had signaled previously, July 1, rather than waiting for the end of the year. But the 53-year-old Fields was getting the job he seemed destined for after being named chief operating officer in late 2012.

“I know this isn’t exactly a well kept secret,” said Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr., who said he was  pleased that the company could move forward with  a smooth leadership transition.


Ford CEO Mulally to Retire July 1, Fields Named New CEO

Maker promises “orderly succession.”

by on May.01, 2014

Retiring Ford CEO Alan Mulally poses with the 2015 remake of the Mustang.

Promising an “orderly succession,” Ford today confirmed recent, widespread rumors that CEO Alan Mulally would be retiring, his successor to be the maker’s current Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields.

A former Boeing sensior executive, Mulally has won widespread praise during his eight-years at “Glass House,” Ford’s headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. His One Ford strategy has been credited with helping the once-struggling automaker avoid the bankruptcy filings forced on cross-town rivals General Motors and Ford during the depths of the nation’s Great Recession. Fields, in turn, has been seen as the man that helped put Mulally’s strategy in play.

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From the first day we discussed Ford’s transformation eight years ago, Alan and I agreed that developing the next generation of leaders and ensuring an orderly CEO succession were among our highest priorities,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford – great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford — said. “Mark has transformed several of our operations around the world into much stronger businesses during his 25 years at Ford. Now, Mark is ready to lead our company into the future as CEO.”


Mulally to Retire, Fields Named New Ford CEO

New Chief Executive to face numerous challenges.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Mark Fields, who reportedly will become Ford CEO at the end of the year, shown delivering the keynote address at the NY Auto Show last week.

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally will step down at the end of the year, according to a variety of news reports and company sources, with the maker’s current Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields to step in as his successor.

The move – which Ford declined to comment upon – is no surprise to those familiar with the automaker’s plans which were largely laid out in late 2012 when the 52-year-old Fields was appointed to the COO position, a senior company insider at the time saying the top spot was “Mark’s to lose.”

The Last Word!

“This is no surprise whatsoever,” said George Peterson, a former Ford analyst and now head of the consulting firm, AutoPacific, Inc. “Ford has been pretty straightforward about doing what they said they would do.”


Fields Named New Ford COO – But Mulally Remains CEO Until “At Least 2014”

Farley, four other senior execs get expanded duties.

by on Nov.01, 2012

Mark Fields becomes the new Ford COO and heir-designate to succeed CEO Alan Mulally.

Ford Motor Co. has come a step closer to resolving two of the most frequently heard questions in the automotive industry, but it has not given a complete answer as to when CEO Alan Mulally will step down – and who will succeed him.

But a strong clue emerged Thursday morning with news that Mark Fields, currently Ford’s President of the Americas, will become the maker’s new Chief Operating Officer, a position all but certain to ensure he eventually moves up upon Mulally’s retirement. But the 67-year-old CEO, clearly in no rush to leave, will pare back his day-to-day role but continue as Ford’s chief strategist and internal cheerleader.

“At least thru 2014. Whatever happens, Alan is here two more years. And we could go longer” Ford Chairman Bill Ford clarified when asked how long Mulally would stay. “Obviously, I love Alan. I’ve never enjoyed working with anyone so much (and) I’d like him to stay forever. But part of the manifestation of a great CEO is developing a great team.”

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So, from a day-to-day management perspective, the man in charge will now be 51-year-old Mark Fields, the Jersey Boy who many – including Mulally — credit with creating the “great elements” of a turnaround plan which helped Ford avoid bankruptcy, unlike its cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler.


Ford Reportedly Set to Name Mullaly’s Successor

Board to promote Fields to COO, according to report.

by on Sep.12, 2012

Ford Pres. Mark Fields during an appearance at the newly renamed Flat Rock Assembly Plant on Monday.

Mark Fields, currently Ford Motor Co.’s President of the Americas, may take a giant step closer to becoming the maker’s next chief executive this week.

The automaker’s board of directors is expected to name the 51-year-old Fields to the new post of Chief Operating Officer, the final step before the New Jersey-born executive could replace highly-regarded CEO Alan Mulally.

Such a move has been widely anticipated, though the timing was unclear. Ford normally does not comment on the timing of board meetings nor the actions on the agenda though a promotion at such a senior level would have to immediately be reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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A former top Boeing executive, Mulally has been widely credited with turning things around for Ford which, just prior to the recent recession, mortgaged all its key assets, including plants and the “Blue Oval” logo, to raise enough cash to avoid a collapse. The strategy worked, Ford being the only one of the three Detroit automakers to avoid a bankruptcy and federal bailout.


Kuzak, Booth Stepping Down at Ford but Mulally Says “No Plans to Retire.”

Shake-up to have no impact on One Ford strategy.

by on Feb.09, 2012

Ford's Derrick Kuzak oversaw the unusual step of announcing a joint venture with Toyota -- whose Takeshi Uchiyamada is shown here.

Two of the most senior and respected members of the Ford Motor Co. management team will retire, the maker announced this morning, but CEO Alan Mulally stressed that he himself has “no plans to retire,” and insisted the executive shake-up will have no measurable impact on the way the Detroit maker operates.

Nonetheless, the 65-year-old Mulally made it clear that he is quietly grooming the next generation of Ford managers, including the executive who will eventually succeed him.

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This morning’s announcements involve a number of senior members of Ford’s management – but also sees a new name join the group, the company’s Board of Directors electing former Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman to their ranks.


Ford Denies Search Underway for Mulally Successor

WSJ report claims four candidates under consideration.

by on Dec.06, 2011

Ford terms "false" a report that a search is now underway to replace 66-year-old CEO Alan Mulally.

Ford Motor Co. terms “false” a report that it has begun the search for a successor to well-regarded CEO Alan Mulally.

A report in today’s Wall Street Journal claimed the maker was looking at four potential candidates to assume the helm for the 66-year-old executive, who many expect to retire within the next year or two.  The WSJ report claims four potential candidates are under consideration, echoing an earlier report on that when it comes to finding a successor to Mulally Ford would prefer to draw from the ranks of its current management team.

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But in regards to an ongoing search effort, a Ford statement contends, “The Wall Street Journal story is false. As (Chairman) Bill Ford has consistently said, we will always consider both internal and external candidates for any succession plan, but we do not have a search under way for an external CEO successor.”