Ford Names Mark Fields As COO
Mark Fields has been named the Chief Operating Officer of Ford Motor Company. This puts him in a line of potential successors that will fill in for Ford CEO Alan Mulally as soon as 2015. Mr. Fields will become COO on December 1st.
Mr. Fields, 51, will head the day-to-day operations and the weekly business reviews with the senior leadership team. All company business units will report to Mr. Fields.
Mr. Mulally will run the company’s long-term strategy and product plans along with mentoring the new leadership team.
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said that Mr. Fields managed the transformation of Ford’s North American operations, which was losing billions of dollars when he took over the key region in October 2005.
Ford ended up having to close plants, lay off thousands of workers, and streamline the vehicle development process. Earlier this week Ford reported a more optimistic quarter by saying that they hit a record $2.3 billion pretax profit in North America.
“I put Mark in that job seven years ago. The growth that we’ve all seen in him has been remarkable,” stated Mr. Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford.
Other Management Changes
Joe Hinrichs, the current head of Ford’s Asia Pacific and Africa, will replace Mr. Fields as the head of the Americas. Hinrichs ran Ford’s manufacturing operations before taking over Asia. David Schoch, the current chairman of Ford China, will now be named the head of the Asia Pacific region.
Stephen Odell, the group vice president of Europe, was named EVP and President of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Ford did not have a COO since 2006 since former president and COO Jim Padilla retired. Mr. Mulally helped keep Ford from going out of business. When Mr. Ford hired him in 2006, Mr. Mulally mortgaged Ford’s assets for a $23.5 billion load, paid for a restructuring, and kept the company out from bankruptcy protection.
“We not only survived but we have created a company that is healthy and is growing and has a clear vision for the future,” stated Mr. Mulally in a phone call with analysts and media.