December 9, 2019

Ford’s Chief Executive to Remain Through 2014

The management changes solidified a closely watched succession race at Ford, the nation’s second-largest automaker, and reassured investors concerned about an earlier departure by Mr. Mulally.

The decision to promote Mr. Fields was made by Ford’s board of directors at its Oct. 19 meeting and was announced Thursday by Mr. Mulally and William C. Ford Jr., the company’s executive chairman.

In addition to naming Mr. Fields as chief operating officer, the company also said its Asia chief, Joe Hinrichs, would take over as president of the Americas division, which has been providing the bulk of Ford’s profit this year.

Mr. Mulally said he would assume a more strategic role at Ford and turn daily operations totally over to Mr. Fields, who he said has excelled during his seven years overseeing the all-important Americas division.

“The really key message today is that Mark is going to take responsibility for leading the business plan reviews of the whole company,” Mr. Mulally said. “I’m going to step back from that.”

By elevating Mr. Fields, the board gave him a running start to ultimately succeed Mr. Mulally. Mr. Ford would not comment on that possibility directly, but he said it was even more likely now that the next chief executive would come from inside the company.

“I’ve said in the past I prefer it comes from inside, and I still see that,” Mr. Ford said.

It was Mr. Ford who reached outside the auto industry in 2006 to hire Mr. Mulally, who was then a senior executive at Boeing. Despite questions about his inexperience in the car business, Mr. Mulally transformed Ford from an unprofitable, regionally divided company into one of the most efficient and profitable automakers in the world.

This week, Ford reported third-quarter net income of $1.63 billion, marking its thirteenth consecutive profitable quarter. The company also recently announced a major restructuring of its European operations and an acceleration of investments in its Asian division.

Mr. Mulally said he expects to focus on new products, technology and strategic initiatives to further globalize Ford’s vehicle development and marketing.

He said he was asked to stay as chief executive for at least two more years by the board and Mr. Ford.

Mr. Ford reiterated earlier statements that he would prefer to keep Mr. Mulally at Ford indefinitely but that promoting other executives was important to the development of the overall management team.

“The strength of our people and stability of our team are competitive advantages for Ford,” Mr. Ford said. “We are fortunate to have Alan’s continued leadership as well as talented senior leaders throughout our company who are developing and working together and delivering our plan.”

Mr. Fields’s promotion to the chief operating officer position, which has been vacant for several years, is effective Dec. 1. Mr. Hinrichs will succeed him in the Americas job, and the Asia position will be filled by David Schoch, who currently heads Ford’s China operations.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/business/fords-chief-executive-to-remain-through-2014.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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