According to Bloomberg, Ford is preparing to announce Mark Fields as its new Chief Operating Officer, putting him second in command to CEO Alan Mulally. Fields, 51, currently serves as Ford's President of the Americas, and this promotion would clearly put him in line to eventually take over as Chief Executive Officer of Ford once Mulally retires.

Candidates to replace Fields in his role as President of the Americas include Jim Farley, Ford's Global Marketing Chief, and Joe Hinrichs, the automaker's chief of Asian operations. Both Farley and Hinrichs are reportedly also candidates to replace Mulally as CEO.

Before now, Mulally has never had a COO. Bloomberg reports that Fields has long been the front-runner in the CEO race, and that according to a source within Ford, Hinrichs – who is six years younger than Fields – may have an opportunity to be the company's president further down the line.

The official announcement is expected to come as part of Ford's monthly board meetings, scheduled to kick off Wednesday. When reached for comment, a Ford spokesperson told Bloomberg that "we do not comment on speculation about personnel actions" and that "we have succession plans in place for each of our key leadership positions."

Bloomberg had a chance to speak with Fields after Ford announced the addition of 1,200 jobs to its Flat Rock, Michigan facility, so click below to watch that video.

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