Ford seems to be preparing to stand on its ground without Alan Mulally, its current chief executive who is poised to leave the carmaker as early as next year. In fact, the weekly executive meetings at Ford were now led by chief operating officer mark Fields, who is widely seen as the successor for Mulally. Two sources told Automotive News that regardless of whether Mulally would be tapped as the next CEO of Microsoft, he is unlikely to stay through 2014.
People within Ford said that the management team that Mulally groomed is now ready for his eventual departure. “Collectively we have helped change the culture - it's not just relegated to one particular individual," Fields told reporters in September, adding that "it's really about all of us looking to build on the things over the years that have made our culture so strong."
Mulally is considered as the turnaround icon at Ford, having led the carmaker when it managed to stave off bankruptcy and did not receive bailouts from the United States federal government, which fellow Detroit 3 members General Motors Co. and Chrysler did. Mulally formulated the "One Ford" strategy that allowed the carmaker’s business units to achieve economies of scale and boost profit.
He was also credited for changing Ford's backbiting culture into a collaborative one. Despite those achievements, Ford still has some important things to tackle, like how to boost its struggling premium brand Lincoln. Ford also has to tackle quality issues in North America that sank the brand to near the bottom of reliability surveys by Consumer Reports and J.D. Power & Associates.