Ford Motor has given Mark Fields a make or break assignment: save Ford North America, with a complex combination of corporate restructuring, production downsizing, and launching market-winning new products.
Fields is not a headquarters type - he's spent most of his Ford career in the field. His successes include a turnaround of Ford Argentina, and a successful presidential stint at Mazda.

Based on his Mazda success, Fields was chosen to turn around Ford's Premier Automotive Group (Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, and Aston Martin). His task was to make it profitable enough to contribute 25 percent of Ford's global profit by 2006. Oops.

Perhaps Fields' three years with PAG and Ford Europe weren't enough to put his plan fully into action, but this week's massive cash infusion into Jaguar suggests that PAG's 2006 contribution to Ford profits would have fallen well short of its target, with or without Fields in the driver's seat.

Still, as this Detroit News article shows, he's likely Ford's best man for the job. The unveiling of the company's restructuring plan for the Americas in January will give us a better idea of how he's planning to pull it off.


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