By on November 1, 2012

Observers knew that something was in the bush when Ford scheduled a conference call for today 9 a.m. Eastern. Hosted by Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., the call promised to be about more than October sales. It was about Ford’s future CEO.

As expected for months, Mark Fields, president of the Americas, was anointed as Mulally’s successor. Not officially, mind you.

First, it was announced that Mulally is not leaving. He will stay through at least 2014.

However, Mark Fields was named Ford’s new chief operating officer, effective Dec. 1.

Now it gets interesting: Fields will report to Mulally, as will the CFO, the general counsel and Ford’s chief of HR. That’s it.

Everybody else, all countries, skill teams, product development, manufacturing, marketing, everything will be reporting to Fields. Effectively, Ford gets a new boss on December 2012, his name is Mark Fields, and he occasionally will inform Mulally as the 67 year old alots more time to his tennis and golf game.

While they were at it, more changes were announced:

  • Joe Hinrichs was named executive vice president and president of The Americas; Hinrichs is currently group vice president and president of Asia Pacific Africa
  • Stephen Odell was named executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa; Odell is currently group vice president, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe; Africa is being realigned with Europe and the Middle East
  • Jim Farley was named executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln.
  • David Schoch was named group vice president and president of Asia Pacific.
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38 Comments on “Ford Anoints Mulally’s Successor. Mark Fields Gets The Power...”


  • avatar
    neevers1

    I don’t know about all of this…..

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Betcha the stock takes a nosedive when Fields takes the reins.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      Why? He’s only been successful wherever he’s gone (i.e. Mazda).

      (Glad to see the mullet gone though)

      • 0 avatar
        Cammy Corrigan

        “Why? He’s only been successful wherever he’s gone (i.e Mazda)”

        Rubbish. The turnaround at Mazda was actually started and spearheaded by a chap called Henry Wallace and carried on by another chap called James Miller. Mark Fields just expanded on Henry Wallace’s work.

        Then, Mr Fields went to Europe to work on the Premier Automotive Group, SPECIFICALLY to turn it around. The entity never turned a profit.

        I strongly suspect that the guy is more of a politicker, than someone who ACTUALLY knows what he’s doing. If he becomes CEO at Ford, the best one can hope for is that the company stays steady. If he decides to actually run the company, then Ford are in trouble.

        But hey, what do I know….?

      • 0 avatar

        Cammy, my first impression of Fields was that he was a nice suit and a haircut. He comes across as being a bit plastic when up on stage. However, after asking him some questions, seeing him depart from talking points, and watching other writers interview him, I have to conclude that the guy knows the car business. Sure, he’s not a gearhead, he’s an MBA, but when he got out of business school, Fields had some great opportunities in other industries, industries more promising than the automotive world and he decided to go with cars.

        Ford’s PAG wasn’t financially successful but Ford was a fairly good steward of the luxury brands it bought. Jaguar-Land Rover is profitable for Tata because Ford dumped billions on new product at those companies. Aston Martin is alive today and making a lot more cars than they did in the David Brown days because of Ford.

        I suppose you can say that Fields didn’t do wonders at Volvo and obviously didn’t turn Lincoln around, but he’s had some level of success and undoubtedly has the support of Mulally and Billy Ford. Other Ford employees that I’ve spoken to have also been complimentary about him.

      • 0 avatar
        rmwill

        Cammy, your version of Ford history is not based in fact. in fact, you have admitted that your vitriol for Ford is epic. Ronnie is correct.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Ronnie has Cammy’s number on this one.

        Still, I think Ford should require him to change his name to MKF until Lincoln improves their naming system.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      This seems like a planned transition to slowly promote Fields and slowly easy Mullaly out. This has Billy Ford’s stamp of approval. Why do you think the stock will nosedive?

      • 0 avatar

        Bill Ford went on at some length this morning about how Fields has “grown” over the last several years. I think he’ll work out fine, but he gets a couple of years with training wheels while the Ford family makes sure he’s really the guy before Mulally rides off into the sunset.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    From reading about the f-bomb incident in TTAC 7 months ago, Fields doesn’t exactly seem to be an inspiring leader.
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/f-bomb-flies-from-fords-fields/

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    “Africa is being realigned with Europe and the Middle East”

    lol

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Great choice. That is some serious CEO-quality hair.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    From my experience at Ford, Mulally is a good CEO not necessarily because he has better ideas or proceses than other CEOs, but because he is a good leader and motivator. He promotes integritty, proactive leadership and focus.

    If he can mentor Fields into taking the lead in this regard, Fields will do fine.

    However, the person who had the most profound impact on me was Farley. He’s very one the ball and has good perspective.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    Title made me think of him singing “you’ve got the touch” to himself in that smirky picture.

  • avatar

    First the engagement of Bill Ford’s daughter to a black man and now a Jew will be running Ford. Henry’s spinning faster than a Model T crankshaft. Ain’t America grand?

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      I thought the same thing :)

      Henry was a real POS.

      • 0 avatar

        Henry was a piece of work for sure. A crank and a crackpot 8 ways to Sunday, Ford Motor Co. may have survived despite him, instead of because of him, his greatest talent may have been hiring talented people (Farkas, Galomb, Sorenson, Rackham, Lodge) and he got lucky by having a competent son who was a far better person than he was, but you can’t deny the man his due. My mom gets treated at the Henry Ford Medical Center. He changed the world.

        One of my favorite books about him is Henry Ford: An Interpretation, by Samuel Marquis, an Episcopalian minister who was Ford’s pastor until they had a falling out.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Henry Ford I was a reflection of his time in many ways, and ahead of them in others.

        His treatment of African-Americans was progressive for the day, but even the staunchest liberals of that time would have kicked a child out of the family who married one. Interracial marriage was absolutely taboo in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and not just among Klan members or sympathizers.

        His prejudices against Jews were quite common at that time – anti-Semitism was still acceptable even among liberals (they just tended to be more discreet about it). Like many rural Americans, Ford tended to view “Jews” and “Eastern bankers” as synonymous, and a lot of his dislike of the former grew out of his absolute loathing of the latter. It wasn’t until the full extent of Hitler’s atrocities became known after World War II that people reconsidered their anti-Semitic views.

        He did a fabulous job of building the Ford Motor Company and tapping the talents of his best employees. He should have handed the company over to Edsel, however, after the debut of the 1932 V-8. The market was changing and Ford needed to adopt more modern engineering features, and offer a wider array of models, to keep up with GM and Chrysler. His insistance on maintaining solid front axles on his products, and the reluctance to embrace hydraulic brakes until 1939 (after everyone else, including the independents, had adopted them), ensured that Ford would slip to third place behind Chrysler by the late 1930s. Today we remember 1930s Fords for their V-8 (his last triumph) and their superb styling (Edsel’s legacy, and proof of his real talent and feel for cars).

        He was a complicated man, and flawed in many ways, but I wouldn’t call him a POS.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Changing the world and being an industrialist doesn’t change the fact that he was lacking as a person. Cheating on his wife for a lifetime and anti-Semitism would qualify anyone for the title of POS.

        That being said, I agree he concocted some amazing accomplishments in his lifetime. Thank you for the reading material, Ronnie!

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        I thought the same thing — that Henry I must be reeling in his grave — when it was obvious they were grooming a Jersey-raised Jewish boy to run his company.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Big Al isn’t leaving???

    Great idea Ford. Keep the goof that took taxpayer dollars and in return gave us vehicles with some of the worst quality in the industry

    Must be the Way Forward.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      TTAC just had a column a few days ago about how Ford’s quality has slipped. Slipped yes, some of the worst quality in the industry? No. Troll on.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Everybody took taxpayer money, even the Asians took money from the DOE. Ford didn’t get a bailout from the government. TTAC ran a column on Ford’s quality and the column had over 200 replies on CR’s methodology. Seems CR and consumers too dense to operate MFT are calling the car a failure. Nevermind the other 99% of the car.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Only the Ford cheerleaders have a problem with CRs methodology.

        Asking the customers the problems they had is not flawed. It’s the most honest form of feedback a manufacturer can get.

        And MFT is not just flawed, it’s fundamentaly flawed. Making tasks that most everyone should be able to complete within their subconscious extremely difficult and “RTFM” worthy is not a good thing.

        Ford realized that and issued a massive fix that didn’t fix near enough. Ford did no product testing prior to MFT launching and they got bit. And rightly so.

        Add to that all the other issues they are having from transmissions to engines to numerous recalls, and it’s clear Ford is trading quality for profits.

        And yet they keep the goof on that got them into this mess.

        Just wait until the issue with the 2011+ Explorers losing steering ability blows up in their face. Ford is hiding that one quite well, but they can’t hide it forever.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Silvy,
        please elaborate on the steering issue. Interested….

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @tresmonos http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/ford-explorer-power-steering-investigated-nhtsa_n_1619144.html That’s about as non-car as you can get ;)http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/defect/defectresults.cfm?start=1&SearchType=QuickSearch&action_number=PE12017&type=QuickSearch&summary=true&prod_id=1040768&PrintVersion=YES. I figure you know more about this site than me, being in the biz. Lots of blogs like the HuffPost, all around June 22, 2012; copied or slight variations of HuffPost. No updates since then.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Thanks for the info! :)

        Same epass unit as other platforms, so my money is on a supplier quality defect or a misrouting of a harness at the plant. (additional shift added)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @el scotto: “Ford didn’t get a bailout from the government.”

        That’s only true for some definitions of “bailout”.

        They skipped the big bailout, because their problems were worse than GM or Chrysler in 2006. They probably would have been a hollowed out husk of a company by the time the big bailout happened in 2008.

        Ford actively lobbied FOR the bailouts that GM and Chrysler received in 2008, because they share a world-spanning supply chain with GM and Chrysler. They were rightly concerned that a collapse of their biggest frenemies would disrupt their supply chain.

        Ford’s turnaround, starting in 2006 was accomplished largely with private capital. But they did accept about $14b lines of credit from the government in 2008, “just in case” but didn’t actually use it. They were present during the 2008 bailout, lobbying for their point of view. The bailout bailed out their supply chain as much as it bailed out their competitors.

        I agree that Ford did more than any of the other majors to save themselves. They avoided being bailed out directly, but they sure were involved in the bailout process and the bailouts received by competing brands really did benefit them.

        I just can’t endorse the view that the guys at Ford are better capitalists because they avoided the government bailout. No matter how you slice it, it really is a tangled web of big-business and big-government.

        They are building some nice cars these days, though!

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Looks like Silvy still doesn’t understand the difference between a loan that will be paid back and the billions our government will never recover from the other two. Had GM/Chrysler not been in such bad shape they would have qualified for these loans and you know damn well they would have done the same as Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      If you take the Touch stuff out of the “problems” list, they are doing pretty well, actually. A friend of mine with an Edge has finally got it figured out and it’s been a great vehicle, so far. When he first got it, his wife and he were pretty frustrated.


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