Ford announced today that current CEO Alan Mulally will be stepping down from his position on July 1st. Taking his place will be the current Chief Operating Officer, Mark Fields. While rumors of the transition have been swirling around for the past year so, the announcement of Mulally stepping down comes a bit earlier than many were expecting. Mulally has said previously that he planned to stay at Ford until the end of 2014. In a statement released by the company this morning, Mulally decided that the leadership team in place is ready to lead the company forward and decided to begin the transition process.
Mulally leaves quite the legacy at Ford. Since becoming the CEO back in 2006, Mulally has changed the culture from one that was very divisive to one that focused on teamwork. He was central to the company's One Ford plan that put a high priority on uniting Ford’s global products to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Compared to when he started his tenure as CEO and the present day, Ford is in much better shape with the company posting record profits and being able to avoid bankruptcy and a subsequent government bailout that General Motors and Chrysler had to take.
“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. 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" said Mulally in a statement. "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."
Mark Fields comes into the CEO position with twenty-five years at Ford under his belt. His previous roles with Ford include President and CEO of Mazda from 2000-2002, executive vice president of Ford of Europe and Ford’s former Premium Automotive Group, and executive vice president of the Americas.
“It is a true honor to lead this great company and this talented team into the future,” Fields said in a statement. “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.”