“It has been an honor to serve and contribute to creating a viable, profitably growing company for the good of everyone associated with the Ford Motor Company,” said Mulally. “By working together with all of our stakeholders around the world, we now are accelerating Henry Ford’s original vision to open the highways to all mankind."
In his place, Ford COO Mark Fields has been named as Ford's new president and CEO. Before becoming COO and leading weekly reviews of Ford's "One Ford" business plan, Fields had worked for Ford since 1989. During his early years with the company Fields headed Ford's Argentina division and then took over as head of Ford's Mazda subsidiary. In 2002 Fields was named chairman of Ford's Premier Automotive Group. Fields became Ford COO at the same time Mulally was announced as CEO.
Mulally has led Ford as CEO since September 2006. Throughout his nearly 8 years at Ford Mulally steered Ford to profitability and a modernized lineup of vehicles.
Under Mulally's leadership Ford largely avoided the costs of the recent recession that led other American automakers to need a handout from the U.S. Government. Because of this Mulally was rumored to have been a top candidate to replace Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer late last year.
Despite the rumors, Ford executives believed that Mulally would stick with Ford through at least the end of 2014. Ford this week stated that Mulally's departure is coming 6 months early due to Mulally's confidence in Ford's "leadership team."
“Alan and I feel strongly that Mark and the entire leadership team are absolutely ready to lead Ford forward, and now is the time to begin the transition,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company. “Alan deservedly will be long remembered for engineering one of the most successful business turnarounds in history. Under Alan’s leadership, Ford not only survived the global economic crisis, it emerged as one of the world’s strongest auto companies. We always will be grateful to Alan for his leadership, compelling vision and for fostering a culture of working together that will serve our company for decades to come.”
Image via Ford