Can anyone replace Alan Mullaly?

Ford is looking for a successor as rumors swirl that its popular CEO will leave late next year.

By Kim Peterson Sep 13, 2012 6:28PM
Alan Mullaly, one of the most respected CEOs in modern-day business, may step down from the helm of Ford (F) by the end of next year. Analysts expect it will happen. But no one's ready for it to happen -- especially not Ford.

The company is trying to position a successor, even though Mullaly, 67, has not publicly confirmed that he will leave Ford next year. The board of directors appears to be leaning toward Mark Fields, who currently heads operations in North and South America. Fields, 51, may soon be promoted to chief operating officer, Reuters reports, which would put him in place to succeed Mullaly.

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Ford may try to keep Mulally on the board as nonexecutive chairman after he retires.

When Mulally leaves, he will end a fascinating chapter in company history. Very few thought much of his hire and expected him to fail. "Wow, we all just shook our heads," Michelle Krebs, an analyst with Edmunds.com, told Michigan radio. "We said, 'he doesn't know what he's doing, he doesn't understand this industry, he can't answer questions.' But then he started producing results."

Indeed he did. And he may be best remembered for helping Ford avoid the federal bailouts as the economy spiraled -- something that General Motors (GM) and Chrysler couldn't do.

Mulally helped save Ford by mortgaging all of the company's assets (even its blue nameplate) for $23.6 billion in loans in 2006. Back then, The New York Times reports, the move looked like an act of desperation. But a few years later, that money saved Ford.

Mulally also overhauled the company and forced it to focus on small cars. Again he raised eyebrows with the move, as the economy was doing fine and buyers were loving trucks and sport utility vehicles. Why develop small cars? But pickup sales would soon tank in the recession as construction faded, and gas prices led consumers to search for fuel efficiency.

Now, compact and fuel-efficient cars are among Ford's biggest sellers.

Mulally certainly made some mistakes along the way, and Ford still has a number of problems to deal with. The company is losing money in Europe and may be close to restructuring operations there. North American sales aren't as high as investors would like. And Ford is too closely tied with the fate of the American economy.

But Mulally has done a bang-up job. His legacy will be felt at the company for decades, and his bold decisions will be remembered in the history of American business.

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2Comments
Dec 27, 2012 6:58PM
avatar

He's an Excellent Human Being and a shroud businessman.  In my years as a Financial Advisor, I was laughed st regrading my love for Ford and their products. I saw and appreciated what Mullaly did at Boeing and knew he would make Ford a leader again. They laughed and they laughed and the laughed at me continuously. Myself and the others who listened to me, did very well with Ford and I continue to a nice profit off Ford and I trade it conservatively

and my results are solid.

 

Phase 2 is short in coming and will boost Ford to the next level..

 

FORD === The Future Of Revitalizing Detroit." ===Plain and simple. 

 

Sep 17, 2012 5:24PM
avatar
How about John DeLorean. You could get a free Kilo for every new car you buy.
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