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Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally says he has no intention of retiring before restoring the Dearborn automaker to sustained profitability.

Mulally turns 64 next month, and Ford executives have typically retired by age 65. If he followed that policy, the chief architect of Ford's turnaround plan would leave before reaching his long-stated goal of returning Ford to full-year profitability. But Mulally told The Detroit News he intends to stay.

"As long as I'm contributing, I'm honored to serve Ford," he said last week. "But I'm one person on a fabulous team."

That may be, but many on Wall Street see Mulally as the star. And as Ford's fortunes rise, some analysts and investors are becoming increasingly concerned about Ford's future without him. As one fund manager who controls a sizable chunk of Ford's stock and bonds put it: "I'm not worried about suppliers or sales. The biggest threat to Ford's future is that Mulally steps off the curb tomorrow and gets hit by a bus."

Such sentiments, blunt as they may be, are a testament to the progress Ford has made since Mulally took over as CEO in September of 2006. He predicts the company should settle into profitability by late 2011.

The only American automaker to eschew a federal bailout, Ford has avoided bankruptcy and last week surprised Wall Street with a $2.3 billion second-quarter profit. Though that profit was due to onetime gains, Ford's shares have soared, hitting a new 52-week high of $7.32 Wednesday before falling back to close at $7.12.

Mulally is no stranger to success. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. recruited him from the Boeing Co., where he was credited with saving the commercial aviation division after the 2001 terrorist attacks prompted the world's airlines to cancel nearly all orders.

He did it by slashing jobs, negotiating a more competitive contract with Boeing's unions and simplifying the company's product lineup.

"Mulally brought his playbook from Boeing to Ford. He gained union concessions, refined the number of platforms and standardized parts," said analyst Eric Selle of JPMorgan. "His value has been evident since he got there. He's been an agent of change."

Analysts like Selle are not Mulally's only fans. For many Ford employees, he has rock-star status -- significant for a company historically troubled by cults of personality.


more here: http://detnews.com/article/20090730/AUTO01/907300430/Mulally-plans-to-stay-in-driver-s-seat-at-Ford
 

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I've been worried about what happens when Mulally leaves. Mulally simply gets it - there were those early on who questioned him, but he is genuinely a great manager and Ford is so damned lucky to have him. Thank you, Alan, for being at Ford! I say this as Ford stock just hit another 52 week high on stock price!
 

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I'm happy to hear that he's staying and I hope he stays on long after Ford returns to profitability.

I remember when Donald Petersen was Ford's CEO. He brought Ford back to life in the mid to late 80's and everyone loved him almost like everyone loves Mullaly now, but he retired way too soon.
 

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**** Lutz its 78 and he still going strong at GM :D , I would be happy if we can keep Mullaly until atleast he hits 72 that would mean 10 years as Ford Chief
 

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He's a great manager, because unlike most CEOs, he's not up there just to line his pocket. To me, he really does try to do what's best for Ford every chance he gets, and I think everyone knows how difficult some of his decisions had to of been.
 

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Who was even thinking Mulally would leave, he is relatively new to the company, has steered it quite successfully and the company is not out of the woods yet, why would this even come up?
As the article said, Ford CEOs usually retire at 65...but of course that was the Old Ford's Ceos, not the new Ford's.
Exactly. this is a non story.
 
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