Ford Motor Co. chief executive Alan Mulally may step down from his post sooner than planned, insiders told Reuters. Ford’s succession plan outlined in 2012 has Mulally remaining as CEO until at least the end of 2014. Ford's board of directors, however, is now open to letting Mullaly quit from the post earlier as he explores other roles, two sources told Reuters.
This underscores board's increasing confidence in the executive team's ability to avoid making the same mistakes that led to Ford’s near-collapse before Mulally was hired in 2006. The sources added that the board has also warmed to Ford chief operating officer Mark Fields, who is seen as successor to Mullaly.
With this, the board is open to allow Mulally to decide on the timing of his exit, the sources said, adding that Ford’s current CEO is mulling another high-profile job to follow up his tenure at the carmaker.
Mulally's name is one of those considered as successor to Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer, who disclosed in late August that he would retire within a year. When Reuters asked Mulally about his plans, the Ford CEO replied that he is "absolutely focused on serving our Ford." He told Reuters in an e-mail that they are “having so much fun creating an exciting, sustainable, and profitably growing Ford for everyone." [source: Reuters]