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Ford names Fields as COO

Next in line: Mark Fields is now in line to become Ford’s next CEO, although Alan Mulally will continue to lead the company until the end of 2014.

Mulally makes sweeping changes to Ford Motor Company’s top management team

General News logo5 Nov 2012

FORD Motor Company stalwart Mark Fields has emerged as the likely successor to chief executive Alan Mulally with his appointment last week as chief operating officer.

Currently president of Ford’s Americas division, which includes North America and South America, Mr Fields becomes responsible for all business operations across the globe, which have been realigned with the Middle East and Africa units moving out of Asia Pacific and joining Europe.

The heads of these divisions will now report to Mr Fields, as will most of the company’s “functional skill teams” including product development, manufacturing and labour affairs, purchasing, quality, sustainability, environment and safety engineering, IT, communications, government and community relations, and sales, marketing and service.

Ford has confirmed that Mr Mulally plans to continue to serve as president and CEO until at least the end of 2014, although he now takes a step back from the operational side to focus on “leading the long-term strategic development of the ‘One Ford’ plan and its continuous improvement”.

80 center imageLeft: Ford chief executive Alan Mulally.

As GoAuto has reported, the plan includes moving all Australian-built models to global platforms later this decade.

Mr Fields’ appointment, which officially takes effect on December 1, has prompted a senior management reshuffle at the Blue Oval brand, with the current chief of the Asia Pacific and Africa region, Joe Hinrichs, stepping in as president of The Americas.

Current Ford of China chairman and CEO David Schoch becomes president of the newly reorganised Asia Pacific division, while chief financial officer of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa John Lawler will head up the company’s operations in China.

Ford of Europe chief Stephen Odell takes on the additional responsibility of the Middle East and Africa, with the realignment described as necessary “to take advantage of profitable growth opportunities and efficiencies”.

In another key move, the company’s global marketing, sales and service boss Jim Farley also now takes on global operating responsibility for Lincoln, “working together with the company’s business units and functions on the reinvention of Lincoln as a world-class, global luxury brand”.

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford said the sweeping changes represent “an important next step in the profitable growth of the Ford Motor Company and the appointment of key leaders who will help us continue to make progress on our One Ford plan”.

“The strength of our people and stability of our team are competitive advantages for Ford,” he said.

“We are fortunate to have Alan’s continued leadership as well as talented senior leaders throughout our company who are developing and working together and delivering on our plan.”

President of The Americas since October 2005, Mr Fields is credited as a key architect behind Ford’s weathering of the global financial crisis and its resurgence in North America, which has gone from record losses to record profits over the period.

He has served in a range of top positions over the years, including executive vice-president of Ford of Europe and the now-defunct Premier Automotive Group, and president and CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation.

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