Ford's Mark Fields promoted, could become CEO

DETROIT (AP) — Longtime Ford executive Mark Fields was named chief operating officer of the company today, putting him in line to replace CEO Alan Mulally as soon as 2015.

Mulally, 67, said today he plans to remain CEO at least through 2014, putting to rest — for now — the swirl of speculation about his retirement plans. Fields will become COO on Dec. 1.

Fields, 51, will lead day-to-day operations and head up the company's weekly business reviews with senior leadership. All the company's business units will report to him. Mulally will lead the company's long-term strategy and product plans. He'll also support and mentor his new leadership team.

Ford announced the moves before the stock market opened today. Shares fell nearly 2 percent on the news in early trading, but began climbing. They were down 1 percent to $11.02 in late-morning trading.

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