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New COO Mark Fields heir apparent as Ford develops succession plan

Ford Motor Co. diffused months of speculation by industry insiders over who would replace the popular CEO Alan Mulally by stating that Mulally will remain at Ford through 2014.

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New Jersey born and raised, Mark Fields has grittiness that will get him top Ford job

Ford Motor Co. is expected to soon name its current chief of North America and South America the new chief operating officer, thus all but cementing his position as CEO Alan Mulally's replacement at the auto maker next year.

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Alan Mulally on CNBC – Click above to watch the video after the jump

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2011 Ford Explorer teaser images – Click above for high-res image gallery

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It's certainly tough to argue with the results of Alan Mulally's tenure as chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company. The product and financial resurgence that Mulally has led allowed Ford to be the only Detroit-based automaker to avoid going through bankruptcy. That success is reflected in the Ford CEO's paycheck as well.

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Where have all the mavericks gone?

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If Bill Ford, Jr. has his way, he'll never be behind the controls of the Ford Motor Company ever again. It's not that the former CEO loathes the idea of holding the reigns to one of the biggest car manufacturers on the planet, notes Automotive News, it's just that he'd rather spend his time focusing on the company's future than dealing with day-to-to-day concerns.

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The New York Auto Show began, as most of them do, with a keynote speech from an auto executive. In this case, it was Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO, who talked about Ford (surprise!) and the future of the industry. The real short version is that he believes three main issues – the auto industry's opportunity to contribute to economic development, energy independence/security/efficiency and environmental sustainability – will "set the agenda for all of us going forward." Mulal

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That's a rhetorical question – of course he's worth it. Put another way, imagine if Bill Ford were asked this question a few years ago: "Hey Bill, you can have Alan Mulally not only return Ford to profits that end in "billions," he'll raise the stock price, deal with the UAW, burnish Ford's public perception by avoiding bankruptcy, and start giving U.S. buyers the products they've been begging for. That will only cost you $18 million a year, just $1.4 million of it in cash. Or you and your

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Ford Motor Company has reported a fourth quarter profit for 2009 that helped the Dearborn, MI-based automaker end the last fiscal year in the black, its first yearly profit in about four years. While Ford's 2009 Q4 income was $868 million versus a loss of $5.9 billion the year prior, the effect on the year as a whole put $2.7 billion in the automaker's pockets versus a loss of $14.8 billion in 2008. What's more, Ford's Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth forecasts a profitable 2010 and raised th

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You'd be forgiven for assuming Ford would be willing to let Mercury die a slow, drawn out death. In fact, it seems like that's what's taking place naturally, what with the stunning lack of interesting new product over the last few years decades. According to Ford head honcho Alan Mulally, though, that's not the plan, at least for now.

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Ford Motor Company president and chief executive officer Alan Mulally gave the keynote speech at the Washington Auto Show today, touting Ford's product line-up and "best in class" attitude. What we were interested in, though, was Ford's efforts in making more efficient vehicles – and making them more appealing.

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Ford CEO Alan Mulally's CES Keynote – Click above to follow along on Engadget

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Word has it that Ford CEO Alan Mulally and the new interim CEO of General Motors, Ed Whitacre, had a phone conversation this week. This type of across-the-aisle conversation is not unusual, as Mulally himself placed a call to each of his competitors when he arrived in D-town from Boeing three years ago.

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When Alan Mulally arrived at Ford Motor Company three years ago, the Blue Oval was in bad shape. New product wasn't exactly pouring in and the company's cash hoard was steadily shrinking. And word on the street is that the corporate culture at Ford was in as much trouble as the product lineup, making change difficult. Now in 2009, it appears Mulally has done the near impossible, turning around Ford's product lineup while supposedly positively altering FoMoCo's corporate culture.

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In 2006, Ford began to shrink its dealership network in order to more efficiently align its distribution network. Three years later, it appears that the hardest hit are the company's stand-alone Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. While there were 619 Lincoln-Mercury dealerships nationwide just a few years ago, the number had dwindled down to just 357 at the beginning of 2009.

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