There's little question that bringing Alan Mulally on board at Ford was the smartest move the company made in decades, nor is there much debate that credit for the company's salvation is largely due to his office. But could his number be up?

Having joined Ford in 2006 as an outsider from aerospace giant Boeing, Mulally (pictured above, left) has been on the job for over five years now. And while he's showing no signs of slowing down, sources indicate he is unlikely to stay on the job beyond another year or two.

The question, then, is who might replace him. Citing internal sources, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Ford has begun putting together a short-list with four candidates: two internal and two external. However, TheDetroitBureau.com has offered a rebuttal saying that the Blue Oval denies beginning such a search.

Either way, at some point, a search will need to begin. Mulally's case notwithstanding, cases of successful hires from outside the business to the top of a major automaker like Ford have been few and far between, but the company could be forced by shareholders to consider outside candidates as well as internal promotions.

The list, according to the WSJ, currently includes Mark Fields (pictured above at right), currently Ford's President of the Americas; Joe Hinrichs (second from right), head of Ford's Asian operations; John Krafcik, a former Ford engineer who now runs Hyundai in America; and Phil Martens, Ford's former product development chief who now runs aluminum manufacturer Novelis.

Again, for its part, Ford denies that it has begun searching for Mulally's successor, but prudent management could very well dictate that it must begin looking – whether the much-lauded executive is ready to retire or not.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      When the WSJ put Krafcik's name on the list, they lost credibility. He's busy making Hyundai into a giant. My money would be on Mark Fields. Anyway, there's no rush to replace Mulally.
        Robin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        I agree there should be no rush to replace Mulally, but are you sure about Krafcik? I don't know anything about Krafcik or this decision, so I'm genuinely asking for some further insight. The way I see it, at first reading, Krafcik must be doing an impressive job at Hyundai, considering what they've achieved in the last few years; however, Hyundai in North America is part of a larger car company, which itself is part of a enormous industrial conglomerate. It's unlikely he'd get the top job at Hyundai the car company, and he'd never have a shout at getting to the top of Hyundai itself. If Ford were to offer him Mulally's position, he would be the No. 1 at one of the world's biggest car companies, with no-one to answer to but the company's board itself.
      Toold Forthis
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't know how much the CEO has to do with the success of a company. It could be luck more than anything else. Look at the picture...do any of them look bright to anybody?
        sp600
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Toold Forthis
        When the big three were ask about CEO's salary Ford said if they needed a bailout he would work for one dollar. The other two car companies CEO's said they were happy with what they were making. Only Ford ddin't need a bailout because he made changes beforehand so they wouldn't go crying like GM and Chrysler.
      MERCURY
      • 3 Years Ago
      I will be glad to see Mulally go. I blame him directly for the product starvation and death of MERCURY. I say don't let the door hit you on the way out.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Countrysunrise
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would like to see someone in there that would give more input with their designs. I like Mulally, but I can't believe what he did to the design of the F-series trucks. They used to look like a real "work" truck. Now it's sissified. The back of it is ugly. I don't know why they would want to drop the Ranger pick-up, either. It's a good truck for the money, and a real workhorse for those that can't afford the larger ones. Mr. Mulally needs to clean up the line, and put the chrome back on the vehicles to give them the "Ford" look they used to have. Now the cars look like all the others. As for the trucks, I won't buy one now. I'll keep my old one.
        nitro276
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Countrysunrise
        Got a chuckle out of your opinion about the F-series trucks, and the Super Duties look particularly bad. Besides that, Ford is offering very little incentives. On that note, I just bought an '11 Silverado 2500HD for under invoice and 0 percent for 72 months.
      The Greenwizard
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey Ford people, I would have time in 2 years. And by the way I need a new car.
      hello dogs
      • 3 Years Ago
      do not let alan mulally go, ford has had enough problems, i am a shareholder 1000!s of shares.Keep a winner,he is a top executive.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Marianne
      • 3 Years Ago
      Who is the man second from the left - next to Mulally?
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      komivesdd
      • 3 Years Ago
      It can take several years to really groom an executive successor to Mulally, the time to start is now, the only thing certain in life is change. Ford does not need a micromanager, they need someone with an eyeball on the big picture 3, 5, 10, 20 years down the road.
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