New Ford CEO Mark Fields Expected To Stay The Course

New Ford CEO Mark Fields Expected To Stay The Course
EME / Pixabay

In an era of dramatic battles for management control of a corporation, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) today marked a smooth transition when it announced Mark Fields would replace Alan Mulally as its chief executive officer.

25 year Ford employee takes over

Fields, 53, moves up the ladder from his position as chief operating officer at the company. The appointment was announced this morning.

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No drastic changes planned

After the successful run of Mulally, where the company turned profitable. This year Ford is on track to earn between $7 billion to $8 billion, according to a report on Mulally is credited with creating a “One Ford” business plan that gave the firm a central focus in a sea of brands and models that were struggling. Mulally changed that and the company, which didn’t require a bailout as did the larger General Motors, thrived.

The CNBC report noted that, on a statistical basis, back to back successful automotive chief executives are rare – and it has not occurred in decades with the “Big 3” firms.

“One Ford” and crisis

Fields is not expected to change the “One Ford” business model.  The primary challenge could occur when the CEO is tested in the next corporate crisis, which could occur at any time.  Just ask Mary Barra, who took over as CEO of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) only to be greeted with a surprise product recall that led to a major scandal and uproar that featured brand damaging appearances before Congress and a satire skit on Saturday Night Live, an official barometer of scandal seriousness.

For his part, Fields has experience working at the firm as it dealt with crisis, notably in the Explorer / Firestone recall and how it was kept out of bankruptcy during the 2009 auto industry “meltdown,” as the report describes it.

Fields joined Ford in July 1989 and led the turnaround of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s businesses in the Americas, Asia and Europe. As chief operating officer, Fields has been overseeing Ford’s global business operation, including product development, manufacturing, purchasing, as well as marketing, sales and service. He also leads the company’s weekly Business Plan Review process and is overseeing the company’s most aggressive product introduction schedule in its 111-year history and its fastest global manufacturing expansion in 50 years. Prior to this role, Fields served as executive vice president and president, The Americas, a position to which he was named in October 2005. He led the development and implementation of a comprehensive restructuring plan for the company’s North America business that resulted in turning around heavy losses to record profits, significantly improving brand favorability and improving operating efficiency. Fields also led Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s South American operations to profitability and its conversion from a legacy product lineup to all-new global products.

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Mark Melin is an alternative investment practitioner whose specialty is recognizing a trading program’s strategy and mapping it to a market environment and performance driver. He provides analysis of managed futures investment performance and commentary regarding related managed futures market environment. A portfolio and industry consultant, he was an adjunct instructor in managed futures at Northwestern University / Chicago and has written or edited three books, including High Performance Managed Futures (Wiley 2010) and The Chicago Board of Trade’s Handbook of Futures and Options (McGraw-Hill 2008). Mark was director of the managed futures division at Alaron Trading until they were acquired by Peregrine Financial Group in 2009, where he was a registered associated person (National Futures Association NFA ID#: 0348336). Mark has also worked as a Commodity Trading Advisor himself, trading a short volatility options portfolio across the yield curve, and was an independent consultant to various broker dealers and futures exchanges, including OneChicago, the single stock futures exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade. He is also Editor, Opalesque Futures Intelligence and Editor, Opalesque Futures Strategies. - Contact: Mmelin(at)
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