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.
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.