Ford Chief Operating Officer, Mark Fields, could be promoted to the top job in Ford before the year is out, if reports out of the US this week prove true.
Speaking with Bloomberg, unnamed company insiders reportedly confirmed Fields as the new CEO, when current boss Alan Mulally retires later this year at the age of 68.
The insiders are understood to have said that Ford may choose to announce Fields’ appointment to the top job as early as next month, in order to hose-down ongoing speculation over Mulally’s future.
Whether the proposed May announcement means Mulally has decided to take his ‘golden handshake’ earlier than originally planned or not is unclear.
Mulally is often credited as ‘the man who saved Ford’; bringing the carmaker back from the brink of bankruptcy on the eve of the Global Financial Crisis, following his appointment to the top job from Boeing in 2006.
Ford’s US arm is currently turning a healthy profit – a record US$8.8 billion (AU$9.4 billion) last year - and the carmaker’s joint operation in China is going from strength to strength.
Fields, age 53, has been with Ford for 25 years and was also credited with turning Ford around as the previous boss of North American operations.
Under Mulally and Fields, Ford avoided the need for bankruptcy protection and the government funded bailout - running into tens of billions of dollars - required by both General Motors and Chrysler following the GFC.