Mark Fields will be soon named as the next chief executive of Ford Motor Co., two people privy with the matter told Bloomberg. The pending announcement will also disclose when current CEO Alan Mulally will retire from Ford. The sources said that Mulally will proceed with plans to step down before the end of 2014 with now chief operating officer Fields as his successor.
The sources said Ford may announce the decision as early as May 1, 2014. The baton pass to Fields will put an end to one of Ford’s chapters, during which Mulally was able to prevent the carmaker from going to bankruptcy while betting on a $23-billion loan. Mulally was able to turn around the then-beleaguered Ford by cutting costs and by overhauling its vehicle lineup.
Executive Chairman Bill Ford remarked that when great CEOs leave, there is “chaos behind them.” Ford disclosed to Bloomberg TV that he and Mulally have discussed about the final act of a great CEO -- a great transition. Bloomberg’s sources said the carmaker is making the announcement to provide clarity on its leadership and an orderly transition of power.
Fields has been considered as the Mulally’s prime successor since he was named COO in December 2012. After his retirement, Mulally will take up a post-Ford position that will keep him involved in corporate governance or business policy, the sources said.
In 2013, Microsoft Corp. considered Mulally as its next CEO, but he himself out of the race in January 2014. Mulally is credited with promoting a collaborative environment at Ford, which had been ridden with infighting and backbiting. Fields was among the first executives to adapt to the cooperative style that Mulally introduced at. [source: Bloomberg]