By on September 6, 2013


The C-Suites of two major auto makers are unlikely to change in the near future, despite rumors suggesting that both Ferdinand Piech and Alan Mulally are set to depart both VW and Ford respectively.

Mulally, who is reportedly being courted by both the Obama administration and Microsoft, told Bloomberg that “I plan to continue to serve as Ford’s president and CEO until at least the end of 2014.” Sources have suggested that Ford’s board was open to him stepping down early so that he could explore other options.

Over at VW, rumors of Ferdinand Piech’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. German outlet Der Spiegel claimed that Piech was about to step down due to poor health, with CEO Martin Winterkorn assuming the top job. True to character, Piech denied such reports, claiming “Those who are written off live longer.”


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21 Comments on “Piech, Mulally Not Going Anywhere...”

  • avatar

    Sorry there, TTAC, but in your assurance that “two major auto makers are unlikely to change in the near future” is true, you offer exactly zero evidence to back this up.

    My money goes on the actual, ya know, reporting.

    • 0 avatar

      I suppose I’d be ok with some rumor mill reporting, But I don’t see how

      “Mulally, who is reportedly being courted by both the Obama administration and Microsoft, told Bloomberg that “I plan to continue to serve as Ford’s president and CEO until at least the end of 2014.” Sources have suggested that Ford’s board was open to him stepping down early so that he could explore other options.”

      In anyway suggests he is staying for even the medium-term, which is what the headline implies.

    • 0 avatar

      The two quotes by the principals involved looks like evidence to me. Their statements also seem to fit the term “near future” used in the article.

      The sources citing Ford Board’s willingness to let Mulally go early seem to forget Ford is a family-controlled business, and the Board will do what the Family representative, Bill Ford wants. Mulally’s statement might mean the end of 2014 is the end of his contract, but the “at least” seems to indicate he’s willing to stay longer – if Bill Ford wants him to.

      As for Piech, he’s not an employee, he’s the VW and Porsche founder’s grandson and part of the family ownership, occupying the same role as Bill Ford. He’ll go when the Posche-Piech family group says so.

    • 0 avatar

      It seems TTAC is merely acknowledging the rumor mill and stating they don’t see merit to follow it up with further reporting at this time based on personal statements.

    • 0 avatar

      Mulally told Bloomberg he’s not retiring early.

      VW issued a statement saying that Piech isn’t leaving.

      One or both of them may be lying, but the official story is that they’re both staying.

  • avatar

    I don’t think that Elop represents the 2nd coming of Gates, but I really hope the rumors of Mulally at MS are bogus. The guys knows how to optimize horrifyingly dispersed and inefficient companies, but I don’t think that is the best approach for a pure-tech company.

    Piech will be at the top of that heap until someone stabs him in the back, removes his heart, and eats it, per Germanic CEO tradition.

    • 0 avatar

      Somebody needs to fix Microsoft after it’s been Ballmered so thoroughly, but I feel like the Mulally rumors were just wishful thinking. “Hey, this guy fixed one horrifyingly screwed-up company, maybe he should do it for this other one!”

    • 0 avatar

      I agree about Mulally’s leadership. From my time spent over there, it was easy admire his ability to unite people toward a common cause. Bill Ford had a hard time with that, recognized it, and let Mulally take the reins. There will be a lot of disappointed Ford employees when he finally does go.

    • 0 avatar

      Mulally would be crazy to take the Microsoft job. It’s a completely different kind of production, his type of leadership might or might not work in that situation, and, having already done one hell of a job on two companies there’s no guarantee his magic will work a third time.

      Smartest thing he can do is to retire after Ford with the reputation of being one of the smartest business leaders of this century, so far.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX (formerly gslippy)

    That black and white photo of Piech is the one you should post if he is leaving, not staying.

  • avatar

    There is a 50% chance that a rumour (CDN spelling) is true, 50% it’s false. I’m betting on Mulally leaving.

  • avatar

    Great picture of Ferdy hard at work personally denying VW warranty claims.

  • avatar

    Mulally wants to leave Ford before all those Turbos blow up or before a Lincoln dealer…………….

  • avatar

    As I’ve said at Jalopnik, Alan Mulally isn’t a “car guy CEO.” If you want a “car guy CEO,” look to “Maximum” Lutz. You’ll also need to look at who’s more successful. Lutz is the CEO MotorTrend and Car and Driver want, but Mulally is the CEO Ford (and for that matter, GM) need.

    You’re also seeing Mulally’s Boeing experience paying off. When he was put in charge of the 777, he had to meet certain expectations and pressures you don’t necessarily face in the automotive world – and whatever lessons he learned he’s certainly taken to heart. Yes, Lutz had the Air Force background, but I think his overall CEO experience was still very much in the vein of “traditional” GM. The same “traditional” GM that thought the diesel G-bodies, early 90s build quality and Chevy SSR were awesome. Did Lutz make those same mistakes? Not quite to that degree (though I recall the SSR being under his watch) – he did introduce both the new GTO and G8, which were fine products, but I think those products were victimized by sitting on aged platforms and really, really bad timing under a “new” economy. Bad timing that anybody with half a brain saw coming, let alone Lutz. Remember the Lucerne? Another Lutz misfire. HHR? Actually a fantastic, grossly underrated product – but hey, it still counts as yet another Lutz misfire.

    Not to say that Mulally is perfect either. In a vacuum, the Taurus is a superb car. Power and handling aside, it’s almost obsolete or at least outdated compared to the competition. The Flex is increasingly looking like a flop. And Lincoln…well, I don’t need to tell you about Lincoln, this is TTAC after all. But hey, the Flex-inferior Explorer sells like Corollas (at least here). The Fiesta is a home run in its segment and the Fusion has been a monumental success. Even here in Colorado, the SUV Capital of the World, I see just about as many Fusions as Explorers (or any other SUV). Forget about getting an Escape because there’s none on the lots – they’re already out on the road. And Mulally isn’t shy against enthusiast driving machines either – the Focus and Fiesta ST, the commitment (finally) to an IRS Mustang, and the SVT Raptor, probably the most boggling crazy truck out there. If there ever was the type of truck Lutz would do without restrictions or reason, the SVT Raptor would be it.

    I’m not saying that Lutz is a bad CEO. He brought great product that kept GM or its brands from disappearing – the CTS (or at least its second-gen iteration), the second-gen LaCrosse, etc. But Mulally seems to have a far better “read” on the market, even if Lincoln’s quality control leaves much, much more to be desired.

    • 0 avatar

      Bob Lutz was a CEO? He should have been CEO of Chrysler, but Lee Iacocca chose a GM lifer, Bob Eaton, over Lutz. Iacocca admitted that was his biggest mistake: Eaton’s “merger of equals” with Daimler destroyed Chrysler right after Iacocca finished building it into a profitable, innovative company. No telling what Lutz would have done as CEO, but he couldn’t have done worse than Eaton.

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