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Mulally Not Leaving Ford for Microsoft

CEO staying until at least late 2014.

by on Jan.07, 2014

Ford CEO Alan Mulally at the debut of the 2015 Mustang.

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally has broken his silence and quashed rampant rumors suggesting he would leave the suburban Detroit automaker for a job as the next chief executive of software giant Microsoft.

Mulally, a former Boeing executive, has been widely credited with turning around Ford during his seven years in Motown, and it had been suggested that he could lend his organizational skills to Microsoft following the retirement of CEO of Steve Ballmer who last year announced plans to step down no later than August 2014.

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Until now, Mulally had avoided directly commenting on the rumors that he was a primary candidate for the Seattle job, but the Ford board of directors was said to be increasingly concerned about the potential distraction the headlines were creating, both for Mulally and for the automaker itself.

“I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford,” Mulally said in an interview with the Associated Press. Asked directly whether this meant he was going to remain at Ford, Mulally added that, “You don’t have to worry about me leaving.”

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Is He or Isn’t He? Ford’s Mulally Sends Mixed Signals About Microsoft CEO Job.

“No change in my plan,” says Mulally – but he also declines to rule out a move.

by on Dec.06, 2013

Ford CEO Alan Mulally at the New York debut of the new 2015 Mustang.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally appears to be sending some very mixed signals when it comes to the ongoing rumors about his candidacy to become the next chief executive officer at Seattle-based Microsoft – but the software giant’s stock slumped when Mulally indicated there will be “no change” to his previously announced plan to stay on with Ford until at least the end of next year.

The former Boeing executive has been the center of rumors swirling around Microsoft’s need to find a successor to Steve Ballmer, the controversial current CEO who has said he plans to depart by next August.  While the Microsoft board of directors has acknowledged only that it is looking at a number of candidates, there have been numerous reports that Mulally is the tech firm’s top choice.

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The timing might almost work.  The 68-year-old Mulally has stepped back in terms of handing day-to-day duties over to Mark Fields, a year ago named Ford’s chief operating officer and considered the front-runner to be the automaker’s next chief executive.  After seven years in Detroit, Mulally has publicly stated he plans to stay with Ford until the end of next year, and in an interview on CNBC, he suggested there has been “no change in my plan.”

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Bill Ford Insists CEO Mulally Will Remain in Detroit

But new reports indicate Microsoft board continues to consider Ford chief exec.

by on Oct.02, 2013

CEO Alan Mulally with Chairman Bill Ford.

Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford Jr. has stepped into the swirl surrounding reports that the automaker’s CEO Alan Mulally might soon leave for a job with Microsoft.

The 68-year-old Mulally was recruited from Boeing seven years ago and has been widely linked to the search for a new CEO by Microsoft which is also Seattle-based. In fact, despite Ford’s insistence, new reports by the Bloomberg news service indicate the computer giant’s board of directors is still actively considering Mulally as the replacement for CEO Steve Ballmer who announced in August plans to retire within a year.

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Don’t tell that to 56-year-old Ford Chairman Bill Ford, however. Asked about Mullaly’s possible move to Microsoft, he told Bloomberg Television that, “The plan is he’s going to stick around. I’m happy he’s sticking around.” But the Ford family heir quickly added that, “We also feel really good about where we are in terms of succession.”

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Ford After Mulally

Maker will need to fight urge to return to old ways.

by on Sep.30, 2013

Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

For the moment, at least, Ford Motor Co. officials are downplaying reports that CEO Alan Mulally will soon depart for a new job as the top executive at tech giant Microsoft – but even if the 68-year-old Mulally doesn’t head to Seattle his tenure in the Motor City is likely to come to an end relatively soon.

The question is what that will mean for Ford, the only Detroit automaker to avoid bankruptcy – and a subsequent federal bailout. What worries many observers is the possibility the second-largest domestic maker will return to the bad old ways that Mulally set out to change when he came onboard in late 2006.

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“There is no change to what we announced in November,” Ford’s new Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields said when asked about the flurry of reports linking Mulally to Boeing.

Ford’s CEO previously worked in Seattle where he was one of the top executives at aircraft maker Boeing, and he retains strong ties to that community. But were he to return, Mulally might instead step into the shoes of Steve Ballmer, the controversial Microsoft chief who last month said he would step down within the next year, setting off speculation about who might replace him.

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Mulally Makes Millions – Marchionne Zip – for 2011

Ford exec not limited by government oversight.

by on Mar.07, 2012

Ford CEO Alan Mulally had a good pay day this week.

Ford Motor Co. has clearly benefited from the fact that it was the only Detroit automaker to skip a government bailout.  So has its CEO Alan Mulally, who received a whopping $58.3 million in stock as part of a long-term incentive package.

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Many analysts believe Ford has drawn in a sizable number of customers willing to reward it for finding its own way through the industry’s worst downturn in decades – unlike its cross-town rivals.  But there was another penalty for taking government aid totaling around $85 billion during 2008 and 2009, the companies covered by the federal automotive bailout face strict limits on the compensation senior executive can make without Washington’s approval.

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Ford Stock Hits 4-Year High

But Ford still miles, so to speak, from its 1999 peak.

by on Dec.22, 2009

Ford stock hits a 4-year high.

Ford Motor Co. shares closed the day on Wall Street at $9.90, a comfortable 2.4%, or 23-cent jump for the day, well above the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

But more significantly, the bell rang as Ford shares surged to their highest level in four years, and a big turnaround from the spring of 2009, when the automaker was trading just north of a dollar.

Industry analysts, such as Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting, point to a variety of reasons for the surge.  As 2009 began, the automaker decided to forego the federal bailout needed by its cross-town rivals, General Motors and Chrysler, and was later able to avoid going into bankruptcy like the other members of Detroit’s Big Three.  That, said Phillippi, has not been missed by consumers who see it as a sign of strength – which translates into an endorsement of Ford products.

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The automaker has been receiving quite a few of those.  Two of its models are up for the coveted North American Car and Truck of the Year awards, which are handed out at the North American International Auto Show, next month.  The influential Consumer Reports magazine described Ford as the only Detroit maker producing “world-class” products, when it released its annual vehicle reliability survey several months ago.

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Ford Figo Targets Indian Auto Market

New model is backed by a $500 million plant investment.

by on Sep.23, 2009

The new Ford Figo could prove to be a cornerstone of growth, according to CEO Alan Mulally, second from left.

The Figo could be a cornerstone of growth, according to CEO Alan Mulally, second from left.

With few analysts expecting to see the U.S. auto market regain much of its lost ground anytime soon, Ford Motor Co. is betting heavily on emerging markets, such as India, where CEO Alan Mulally has unveiled the new Ford Figo.

Targeting the Indian market’s fast-growing small car segment, Figo made its first appearance at a news conference in Delhi, an event that underscores the strategic importance of India in Ford’s future plans, Mulally said.

Figo has no meaning in Hindi, the largest language in the sprawling country.

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Ford has invested $500 million at its manufacturing complex in  southern India, near Chennai, to not only build the new model, but to serve as a “center of excellence” for Ford small car production on the subcontinent,  Figo is targeting a segment of the market that now accounts for more than 70% of the new vehicle market in India.

Figo leverages Ford’s older small-car platform architecture, sharing underlying technology with the Ford Fiesta, already familiar to Indian drivers, which is two generations behind the current one in Europe. This older Fiesta also formed the basis for Ford’s first small car to go into production in China.

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Farley’s Star Rising at Ford

Exec gains broad new power; further ascent all but certain.

by on Jul.17, 2009

Ford's global marketing chief, Jim Farley, now adds day-to-day responsibility for Canada, Mexico and Latin America to his portfolio.

Ford's global marketing chief, Jim Farley, now adds day-to-day responsibility for Canada, Mexico and Latin America to his portfolio.

A one-time Toyota executive with even deeper family ties to Detroit is watching his star rise at the Ford Motor Co.

Jim Farley, who returned to the Motor City, two years ago, to take on global marketing operations, at Ford, has now been given the added duties of overseeing day-to-day operations in Canada, Mexico and South America.  The announcement, which takes effect on September 1st, firmly entrenches the boyish-looking executive as one of Ford’s fastest-rising stars.

Observers say it also puts him more clearly in the running, long-term, to replace Ford’s Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally.  The other executive considered a possible successor, when Mulally eventually retires, is Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, to whom Farley will now report to.

“Jim has made great progress connecting with our customers and building a strong foundation for our success in North America,” said Mulally, in explanation of Farley’s new duties.

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At 45, Farley is part of a youthful management team that has aggressively attacked Ford’s long-running problems, a task made more difficult by the fact that it hasn’t had the cover of bankruptcy, like cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler, to order dramatic changes in the company’s operations and cost structure.  A key challenge for Farley has been to get the second-largest of the domestic makers taken seriously again, especially outside the Midwest.

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