Chief Executive Officer of second-biggest U.S. automaker, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), Alan Mulally, said today that he has no plans to retire as of now. The 67 year old man, told reporters after a press conference in New York’s Times Square “Please don’t write me off yet,” and added “I mean, I love it here.”
Though the CEO refused to comment on his plans for retirement and on his successor, the company’s board is preparing Mark Fields to eventually succeed Mulally, by planning to promote him to chief operating officer from president of the America division, sources close to the matter told.
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Mark Fields, 51, led the company’s North American operations and transformed it to a profitable venture from record losses four years ago. For the first half of 2012, North America contributed $4.14 billion to the company’s earnings with an operating margin of 10.8 percent in an industry where a 5 percent margin is considered respectable.
Mulally who is credited with saving the automaker without a federal bailout or bankruptcy told the reporters “My plan is to continue to serve as the CEO of Ford” and “I’m really clarifying that now. If I had any plans to do anything differently, I’d share it with everybody.”
The Automaker averted bankruptcy, as it borrowed $23.4 billion in late 2006, less than four months after Mulally arrived from Boeing Co. At that time, the company collateralized all of its major assets, including its blue oval logo. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) got back the control of those assets in May, when both Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch upgraded Ford’s debt to an investment-grade. Mulally also revived the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker by focusing on quality, fuel economy and technology. The CEO is also responsible for taking tough decisions, like cutting employment and spinning off European luxury brands Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, and Volvo. Ford has lost $30.1 billion and earned $29.5 billion in the last three years, mostly in Fields’ North American operations.
The second-biggest U.S. automaker, reported an overseas loss of $465 million for the second quarter, with the European crisis resulting in lowering of demand. The company expects the loss to increase to more than $1 billion in European losses this year. Ford’s hardships are not only limited to Europe, but also to Asia, where it is losing money and commands less than a 3 percent market share in China.
When asked about Fields’ leadership potential, the CEO instead focused on Ford’s executive talent, saying “All of our leaders are growing, they’re developing,” he added “I think Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has probably the strongest, and many people believe it has, the strongest bench ever.”