As was widely anticipated, Ford Motor Company announced that its current president of the Americas, Mark Fields, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer, effective December 1, 2012. Also, Executive Chairman Bill Ford announced that Alan Mulally will remain as CEO until at least the end of 2014, and possibly longer. It’s no secret that Mr. Ford is quite fond of Mr. Mulally and his tenure at the Dearborn-based automaker, and Mulally holds all the cards. I’m quite certain he could continue as Ford’s CEO for as long as he wants to, even for another decade. Though he’s 67, he brings the enthusiasm and energy of a much younger man to whatever room he’s in, and he could probably work well through his 70s like Bob Lutz did.
With Fields’ promotion, there will be numerous other changes in Ford’s executive ranks. Fields’ direct reports will include:
- Joe Hinrichs will fill Fields’ former role as president of the Americas. Most recently, he led operations in Asia, Pacific, and Africa.
- Stephen Odell will lead Ford in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Odell currently is responsible for Ford’s European operations, which are going through a sweeping restructuring right now.
- Jim Farley will assume global responsibility for the Lincoln brand, as Ford intends to roll the brand out beyond North America in coming years. He will also continue his CMO duties.
- David Schoch will run the Asia Pacific region. He was previously responsible for only China.
- John Lawler will run Ford Motor China
In addition, several of Mulally’s direct reports will continue to report to him while also reporting to Fields. These include the general counsel, head of HR, and CFO.
As we said a few weeks ago when rumors of this move leaked, Fields has paid his dues with the strong turnaround in North America. Yet he still has plenty of work ahead of him. Job One: fix Europe. Job two: fix Lincoln. Job three: grow more in emerging markets.
This is all very premature, though, since Alan Mulally will be in charge until 2014 (albeit for more big-picture things, since Fields will be running the company’s operations), and by then, the to-do list may have a few more things crossed off.
We wish Ford and Mark Fields, along with the other executives who were reassigned or promoted, success in their new roles.