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Ford Begins CEO Hunt to Replace Mulally

By Trevor Dorchies | December 06, 2011
Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Company's current CEO has brought the Detroit-based auto maker some much needed success since he took hold of the reigns back in 2006. How much success you ask? Before Mulally took over the company, Ford's North American automotive operations lost $9 billion over the previous five years. Now Ford has posted profits for 10 consecutive quarters and earned $1.65 billion in net profits during the third quarter of this year. In addition, Ford was the only domestic automaker that didn't need bailout funds, nor did it declare bankruptcy in 2009 when rivals GM and Chrysler did. While turning the automotive industry around isn't an overnight venture Ford is now headed in the right direction again. The former Boeing executive can definitely be credited with helping Ford right the ship. With rumors swirling that Mulally, 66, will be retiring from his position at Ford in two years, the Blue Oval boys aren't waiting to find his replacement. While Ford has denied recent reports stating a search for Mulally's successor is currently on-going a few names—from both inside the automotive industry and out—have began popping up. Here is a list of possible replacement candidates for when Alan Mulally decides to retire.
  1. Mark Fields: Fields, 50, is the currently serving as executive vice president for Ford Motor Company and is the president of Ford America. The first of two internal candidates for Ford, Fields has served under Mulally since his promotion to business unit chief of Ford's America operations in December of 2006. He has since worked his way up the corporate ladder and appears to be one of the front-runners when Mulally steps down.
  2. Joe Hinrichs: The second of two internal candidates from Ford, Hinrichs is currently serving as Group Vice President and President, Asia Pacific and Africa. He is also chairman and CEO of Ford China. Hinrichs ascended to his current position back in December of 2009 and reports directly to Mulally. Hinrich is responsible for overseeing all of Ford operations with the Asian and African regions.
  3. John Krafcik: A former executive for the Blue Oval brand, John Krafcik now heads up Hyundai Motor's North American operations serving as CEO. Hyundai has quickly become a hot commodity with sales figures consistently shattering monthly records. This isn't the first time Krafcik's name has been brought up when looking for leadership either. When General Motors has looking for guidance after declaring bankruptcy in 2009, it's rumored that Krafcik was offered the CEO chair. However, it's something he firmly declines to answer.
  4. Phil Martens: The fourth candidate mentioned as a Mulally successor, Phil Martens is CEO of Novelis Inc., an aluminum products maker. Novelis operates 30 facilities in 11 countries and employs around 11,600 people. Prior to joining Noveli's Martens served as Senior Vice President of light vehicle systems for ArvinMentor Inc. He was also president and CEO designate of Arvin Innovation where he was tabbed with overseeing the strategic and operational management for passenger vehicle components.
  5. Lewis Booth: Booth, 63, is currently serving as Ford Motor Company's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  Booth was elevated to his current position back in November of 2008 and has spent the last three years keeping tabs on the auto maker's finances. Before that Booth was executive vice president for Ford of Europe, Volvo, and Ford Export Operations and Global Growth Incentives. Booth also served as chairman and CEO of Ford Europe from April 2004 to September 2005. Some people have questioned whether or not Booth's age will affect his chance of succeeding Mulally who is only three years older than him.
  6. Jim Farley: Jim Farley, 49, is the youngest candidate on this list. Farley is the Global Vice President of Global Marketing, Sales and Services for Ford and has held his current position since August of last year. Prior to that Farley was group vice president of global marketing and Canada, Mexico, and South America, where he was also chosen to oversee operations in September of 2009. Farley joined the Blue Oval boys in November of 2007 where he spearheaded closer customer interaction through advertising, digital communications, brand development, and research.
All of the aforementioned candidates have the necessary experience needed to lead a major company. However the question is who has the intangibles to continue leading a company in the right direction when others around them are struggling. We'll just have to wait and see what happens and who is chosen.
If you had to pick Alan Mulally's successor, who would you choose? Tell us in the comment section below. Source: Automotive News
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