Ford denies searching for a new CEO outside the company image

Ford denied a report from the Wall Street Journal which said the search for a replacement to CEO Alan Mulally extends to external candidates.

On Monday the newspaper reported on its website that the automaker has begun a broad search that includes outsiders like John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America and Phil Martens, a former Ford executive. “As Bill Ford has consistently said, we will always consider both internal and external candidates for any succession plan,” Ford said in a statement Tuesday. “But we do not have a search under way for an external CEO successor.”

Krafcik is considered to be the mastermind behind Hyundai’s growth. He worked at Ford in product development before leaving for Hyundai in 2004. Martens left Ford in 2005 from the position of head of product creation. Since leaving Ford, Martens hold executive positions at three Ford suppliers – Plastech Engineered Products, ArvinMeritor and currently aluminum manufacturer Novelis.

The strongest internal candidates are Mark Fields, president of the Americas region, and Joe Hinrichs, CEO of Ford China, Asia-Pacific and Africa. However, Ford CEO Alan Mulally said on Fox News that he’s not leaving anytime soon. The 66-year-old gave no hints so far that he intends to retire in the near future.