DETROIT – Ford’s leaders have watched Mark Fields, a brash Harvard MBA, turn the company’s North American business into a profit machine. Now the CEO job is his to lose.Fields, who has spent seven years as head of Ford’s Americas division, will become chief operating officer Dec. 1. He will report to CEO Alan Mulally, 67, who said Thursday that he plans to remain CEO at least through 2014.
Fields, 51, will lead day-to-day operations and head up the company’s weekly business reviews with senior leadership. All of the company’s business units will report to him.
The announcement puts to rest – for now – the swirl of speculation about Ford’s succession plans. The sunny, charismatic Mulally will lead the company’s long-term strategy and mentor the new leadership team.