Ford Motor Company has confirmed that executive Mark Fields will become the carmaker’s new CEO when Alan Mulally retires on July 1.
The news follows reports last month that company insiders had claimed Fields would take the top spot, although Mulally’s retirement was not expected to occur until later this year.
Fields, who turns 53 this year, has been with Ford for 25 years. He is currently the company’s Chief Operating Officer, and his ascension to CEO has been expected for some time.
Bill Ford, company chairman and founder Henry Ford’s great-grandson, described Mulally as a “hall-of-fame CEO” who led the company through hard times.
"Under Alan’s leadership, Ford not only survived the global economic crisis, it emerged as one of the world’s strongest auto companies,” Ford said.
“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.”
Mulally, a former Boeing executive, has led Ford for eight years. Under his leadership, the company turned in 19 quarters of profitability in a row, rebuilding its fortunes on the back of new technology-rich and fuel-efficient models.
As for Fields, Ford said the company’s next CEO has proved his mettle through his career with the carmaker.
"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,” Ford said.
He added that Fields will also have to oversee projects that will see commuters adopting new and different technologies as the reliance on conventional cars decreases.
“We’ll probably always be making cars and trucks, but we also have to venture into” alternate forms of mobility, Ford said. “Cars could be part of the solution, too. They just may look different and be propelled differently than they are today.”
Fields has already spent some time as a CEO, leading Mazda from 2000, when Ford still had a controlling stake in the Japanese carmaker.
Mulally, speaking at the announcement of Fields’ promotion, said that he has “nothing to teach or talk to Mark about”.
"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," Mulally said.