Mulally, who is 68 years old, has served at the head of Ford for eight years, and his official retirement date will be July 1, 2014. Bill Ford, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, refers to Mulally as a "hall-of-fame CEO," so his contributions will surely be missed. That said, Fields, who is 53 this year, has been with Ford for 25 years and has been groomed to take the helm from Mulally for the last several of those years. Mulally says that he has "nothing left to teach or talk to Mark about."
At this point, it's not clear who will replace Fields as COO at Ford, or what Mulally plans to do with all his newfound free time (though he did say that retirement has a nice ring to it...). The automaker stresses that it expects this changing of the guard to be a smooth transition, saying it has been in the works for some time.
There's an official press release that you can read, but if you're more of a visual person, you're welcome to watch the live video feed of the announcement down below.
Alan Mulally to retire from Ford on July 1, after serving as president and CEO and
leading the company's One Ford global transformation since September 2006
Mark Fields named Ford president and CEO, effective July 1; Fields served as COO
since December 2012 and led Ford's transformation in North America since 2005
Long-planned, seamless CEO transition underscores strength of Ford's leadership
team and succession planning process, Executive Chairman Bill Ford says
DEARBORN, Mich., May 1, 2014 – Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] announced today that Alan
Mulally has decided to retire from the company July 1 and Mark Fields will be named Ford
president and chief executive officer and elected as a member of the company's board of
"From the first day we discussed Ford's transformation eight years ago, Alan and I agreed that
developing the next generation of leaders and ensuring an orderly CEO succession were
among our highest priorities," Executive Chairman Bill Ford said. "Mark has transformed several
of our operations around the world into much stronger businesses during his 25 years at Ford.
Now, Mark is ready to lead our company into the future as CEO."
Mulally, 68, is retiring after nearly eight years leading Ford and capping a remarkable 45-year
career. Mulally has led Ford's transformation and strengthened its position as one of the world's
leading global automakers. Under Mulally and the company's One Ford plan for profitable
growth, Ford has achieved 19 consecutive quarters of profitability, developed the strongest
product lineup in Ford's history and embarked upon the company's most ambitious global
expansion in the past half century.
"Alan deservedly will be long remembered for engineering one of the most successful business
turnarounds in history," Bill Ford said. "Under Alan's leadership, Ford not only survived the
global economic crisis, it emerged as one of the world's strongest auto companies. We always
will be grateful to Alan for his leadership, compelling vision and for fostering a culture of working together that will serve our company for decades to come."
The transition in July is approximately six months earlier than previously anticipated, following
Mulally's recommendation to accelerate the timetable based on the readiness of Ford's
"Alan and I feel strongly that Mark and the entire leadership team are absolutely ready to lead
Ford forward, and now is the time to begin the transition," said Bill Ford, who recruited Mulally
from Boeing in 2006.
Fields, 53, was named Ford's chief operating officer in December 2012. He has been leading all
of Ford's global business operations and most skill teams, including product development,
manufacturing, purchasing, and marketing, sales and service.
Fields' role as COO has included leading the company's weekly Business Plan Review meeting,
which Mulally established to track the progress of the One Ford plan and to monitor the global
business and competitive environment. The Thursday meetings are credited with driving a
reliable and transparent process for running Ford's global operations and enabling Ford's senior
leadership to work closely together and act decisively on its plan.
Before serving as COO, Fields served as executive vice president and president – The
Americas since October 2005. There, he led the transformation of Ford's North American
business – turning it from record losses several years ago to record profits in each of the last
four years. Earlier, Fields guided the product-led transformation of Ford's European operations
and formerly held European luxury brands, as well as the relaunch of Ford's independent
operations in Argentina and a major restructuring and product renaissance at Mazda.
Mulally thanked the Ford team for their many contributions and accomplishments.
"It has been an honor to serve and contribute to creating a viable, profitably growing company
for the good of everyone associated with the Ford Motor Company," Mulally said. "By working
together with all of our stakeholders around the world, we now are accelerating Henry Ford's
original vision to open the highways to all mankind.
"Ford's future is so bright, and Mark – supported by an experienced and dedicated senior
leadership team – is absolutely the right leader to continue to deliver on our compelling vision,"
Fields underscored his commitment to the One Ford plan, including building on the company's
unprecedented global introduction of new products, innovations and excellence.
"It is a true honor to lead this great company and this talented team into the future," Fields said.
"Under Alan's leadership, we have seen the power of One Ford and what a culture of positive
leadership and working together can accomplish. My commitment is to build on that success by
accelerating our pace of progress. All of us at Ford are committed to delivering even more of the
great products and innovations that will deliver growth and define our company going forward."
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