Mark Fields, who helped turn Ford Motor Co.’s North American operations into a sales and profit powerhouse, will take over from Alan Mulally as CEO on July 1.
The 53-year-old Fields has been Ford’s chief operating officer since late 2012, and has been running executive meetings and day-to-day operations. He was widely seen as Mulally’s heir apparent.
Ford wasn’t expected to make the transition until year’s end, but said it moved up the schedule at Mulally’s request. Mulally, 68, who came to Ford from Boeing in 2006, is credited with transforming the automaker from a dysfunctional money-loser to a thriving company.
In orchestrating that transformation, Mulally relied heavily on a strategy that Fields drew up in 2005, when Ford’s big North American division was losing money, burdened by too many factories and lackluster car designs. Fields’s plan called for closing factories, laying off thousands of workers and using Ford’s design expertise in Europe to build better cars that could be sold globally.
Bill Ford told The Associated Press that Fields is humble about his achievements. But he has been an advocate within the company for advanced technology and better products.
“Every job the company’s ever asked him to do, he’s done a really good job of it,” Bill Ford said.
“I have nothing left to teach or tell Mark about. He knows everything,” Mulally said.