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.
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.