Ford: mulally steps down, fields becomes new boss

The savior of ford is hoarding up. After eight years at the helm of the second-largest u.S. Car company, alan mulally is handing over the helm to his close associate mark fields. The two had together saved ford from the insolvency fate of general motors and chrysler. Most recently, fields was already number two in management and responsible for global day-to-day operations. "Mark has been alan’s partner all the way," bill ford said thursday. As the great-grandson of company founder henry ford, he represents the family’s interests in the company and sits on the powerful board of directors. Bill ford admitted that the search for a candidate for the chief executive position had also been conducted within the company. "But fortunately, the best person was already in the company."Everything else had disappointed him, said ford.

Fields will take over as chief executive on july 1. July 2014, at the same time mulally gives up all offices. He does not yet know what he will do after that, mulally said at a press conference. "This retirement thing is looking good," the 68-year-old joked. His successor is 53 years old. The generational change has been looming for a long time; a week ago, speculation in the american media intensified. According to the original plans, mulally should have stayed until the end of the year. "But alan and i are confident that mark and the entire management team are now ready to take ford forward," said bill ford. Saying goodbye to mulally was not easy for him, he said. "I will miss it very much," said the chairman of the board of directors. "Not only was he a first-class corporate executive, he also became my friend. And that doesn’t happen very often in this industry."Mulally was moved by the praise: "it brings tears to my eyes."

Mulally and his team had managed to steer the company through the 2009 economic crisis as the only one of the three major u.S. Automakers without government aid. Mulally had come from aircraft manufacturer boeing just three years earlier, making him an absolute exception in the detroit auto world. Fields, on the other hand, is a homegrown who has held numerous management positions at ford. The new boss now faces the task of reviving recently sluggish sales in the u.S., returning the european business to profitability as planned in 2015 and expanding the company’s position in the booming asian market. Fields said he would continue the work of his predecessor. And the head of the family, bill ford, does not expect a break with the company’s previous culture. The choice of mark fields is a guarantee for that, he said. "It is an honor for me to lead this great company," said the new number one.

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