Ford May Be Close to Naming Fields to Replace Mulally As CEO

Apr 21 2014, 4:34pm CDT | by

Ford Motor Co. is poised to tap COO Mark Fields to succeed Alan Mulally in the company’s top job later this year, according to Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg, which cites unidentified sources, says Ford could announce the promotion and reveal Mulally’s retirement date as early as May 1.

It would be the second shoe to drop after Ford promoted Fields, 53, to the chief operating job in December 2012, making him Mulally’s heir apparent. A new announcement could reassure company employees and Wall Street. Both were rattled by rumors late last year that Mulally might leave to take the top job at Microsoft Corp.

He didn’t deny the conjectures until January.

Mulally, 68, has said he intends to remain the automaker’s boss through 2014. But disclosing his retirement date soon might give him an extra chance to bask in the glow of the strong first-quarter earnings Ford is expected to report on Friday.

Spokeswoman Susan Krusel says the company won’t comment on the speculation about an imminent statement about Fields. Ford has nothing new to say about its internal succession plans, she adds. “If anything were to change, we’d let everybody know.”

Ford’s board of directors next meets on May 8 in Wilmington, Del., just before the company’s annual meeting.

Mulally, who joined the carmaker as CEO in September 2006, is widely credited for turning around the struggling carmaker. Unlike rivals General Motors

and Chrysler, Ford avoided bankruptcy in 2009. Bloomberg says Mulally has lined up an unspecified post-retirement position involving corporate governance or business policy.

Before taking the COO job, Fields had been president of Ford’s North American operations since October 2005. The 25-year Ford veteran previously held a string of operating jobs, which included running the company’s European unit and affiliate Mazda.

 
 

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