Mark Fields promoted to Chief Operating Officer.
November 1, 2012
By: Nick Saporito
Ongoing speculation surrounding the CEO succession plan at Ford Motor Company has been hitting up over the last year. As Alan Mulally has reached the age of retirement, it is plausible to assume he would consider stepping down from his post after his successful bid at turning Ford around, but apparently he isn't ready to go just yet. This morning Ford has announced that Alan Mulally will remain CEO through at least 2014. The announcement has also brought on several other senior management changes.
Aside from Mulally's commitment to stay until at least 2014, Ford has also announced a major promotion for one of his likely successors. It has long been speculated that Mark Fields is in the running to replace Mulally when the time comes for him to step down, and now it seems even more likely. This morning Fields was announced as the company's new chief operating officer, effective December 1st. All of Ford's regional business units will now report to Fields, versus Mulally. The extra layer of management may be a sign that Fields is being further vetted for the company's top spot.
Fields has been replaced by Joe Hinrichs, who has been serving as the vice president of Ford's Pacific and Asia operations. David Schoch, currently CEO of Ford China, replaced Hinrichs Asia position.
Other shuffles and title changes were also announced (details in the press release below). Among the notable changes; Jim Farley, global chief marketing officer, is now the senior global leader for the Lincoln brand.
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 1, 2012 – Ford Motor Company is further strengthening and developing its leadership team while continuing to deliver the One Ford plan for profitable growth.
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford today said that Alan Mulally plans to continue to serve as Ford president and CEO through at least 2014. At the same time, Mark Fields is named the company’s new chief operating officer, effective Dec. 1.
Mulally will continue leading the long-term strategic development of the One Ford plan and its continuous improvement. Fields will be responsible for all business operations.
Fields will continue to report to Mulally, as will the company’s chief financial officer, general counsel and group vice president of Human Resources and Corporate Services.
Ford’s automotive business units – The Americas (including both North America and South America); Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia Pacific – will report to Fields. Also reporting to Fields will be most of the company’s functional skill teams, including Product Development; Manufacturing and Labor Affairs; Purchasing; Quality; Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering; Information Technology; Government and Community Relations; Marketing, Sales and Service; and Communications.
The company also made several other concurrent leadership announcements, also effective Dec. 1, including:
Joe Hinrichs is named executive vice president and president of The Americas; Hinrichs is currently group vice president and president of Asia Pacific Africa
Stephen Odell is named executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa; Odell is currently group vice president, chairman and CEO, Ford of
Europe; Africa is being realigned with Europe and the Middle East under Odell to take advantage of profitable growth opportunities and efficiencies
Jim Farley is named executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln; Farley, who is currently a group vice president, adds operating
responsibility as the senior global leader for Lincoln, working together with the company’s business units and functions on the re-invention of Lincoln as a world-class, global luxury brand
David Schoch is named group vice president and president of Asia Pacific; Schoch is
currently chairman and CEO, Ford of China
John Lawler is elected a Ford Motor Company vice president and named chairman
and CEO of Ford Motor China; Lawler is currently CFO, Ford Asia Pacific Africa
“Today marks 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,” Bill Ford said. “The strength of our people and stability of our team are competitive advantages for Ford. 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.”
For the past seven years as executive vice president and president of The Americas, Fields has been responsible for the transformation of the company’s North American operations and its
record profitability. In the role, he has led the development, manufacturing, marketing and sales of Ford and Lincoln vehicles in the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America.
Hinrichs has led Ford’s Asia Pacific growth plan for the past three years, overseeing the current construction of nine new plants and spearheading a commitment to bring more than 50 new
vehicles and powertrains to the region by mid-decade. He now will apply his extensive business and automotive experience to Ford’s Americas operations, focusing on continuing the momentum in North America and building a stronger business in South America.
Odell is leading Ford’s transformation in Europe, with a focus on using the One Ford plan to achieve profitable growth through an unprecedented focus on new products, a strong brand and
increased cost efficiency. Having previously led the transformation of Mazda and Volvo, Odell will lead the company’s focus on growth in Africa and the Middle East.
Farley will continue to lead Ford’s global Marketing, Sales and Service to world-class levels, focusing on new customers and revenue growth. His new global responsibility for the Lincoln brand will build on his experience growing Toyota’s Lexus brand around the world.
Schoch has been leading Ford’s growth in China, where it has invested more than $4.9 billion to introduce 15 new vehicles by 2015 and double production capacity. With extensive operational
experience in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, Schoch now will lead the company’s growth plan for the entire region, having worked alongside Hinrichs for the past year.
Lawler assumes leadership of Ford Motor China, having served as CFO for Asia Pacific Africa, working alongside Hinrichs and Schoch to develop and implement the company’s aggressive
growth plan in the region. Building on his considerable global operational experience – including being part of the team that led Ford’s North American transformation – Lawler now will focus on
the world’s largest automotive market and the dramatic expansion of Ford’s presence in China.
“In addition to fundamentally transforming our company during the last several years, we have strengthened our team with world-class leaders who will enable us to sustain our One Ford
journey,” Mulally said. “All of us at Ford remain absolutely committed to continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan, including dealing decisively with near-term challenges, investing
for future growth and developing outstanding products with leading quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value.”