Ford Names Mark Fields It’s Next CEO

Alan Mulally, the man who transformed Ford Motor Co. from loss-making company to a thriving corporation, will retire on July 1 and will be replaced by Mark Fields, the current chief operating officer.

Mulally, 68, was trained as an aeronautical engineer. He spent 36 years at Boeing – and was president of the company’s commercial airplane division – when Bill Ford persuaded him to join the struggling automaker eight years ago. Mulally put a stop to the infighting that had paralyzed the company and instituted weekly management meetings where executives faced new levels of accountability and were encouraged to work together to solve problems. It took two years for Mulally to turn the company around, but since 2009, Ford has posted pretax profits of $34.5 billion and its shares have more than doubled.

Fields, 53, has been in charge of Ford’s daily operations since December 2012 and was widely expected to one day ascend to the top job. The change in leadership is taking place about six months ahead of schedule, but Ford said that was based on Mulally’s recommendation that the new leaders were ready. Fields was one of the executives passed over when Mulally got the top job in 2006. When he was named COO in 2012, Bill Ford said Fields’ decision to stay at Ford and learn from Mulally showed a lot of fortitude and has made Fields a better leader.

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