Ford to Choose Mulally Successor image

As Ford’s Chief Executive Alan Mulally will retire at the end of next year, the board of directors will prepare this week a succession plan.

Bloomberg reported that Mark Fields, head of Ford’s operations in North and South America, will become chief operating officer, which means that he will be the first in line after Mulally, 67, retires. The automaker’s spokesman declined to comment the report, saying that Ford doesn’t speculate on decisions regarding the company’s employees.

Mulally joined the company in 2006, after he had previously worked for airplane maker Boeing. He managed to save the automaker from bankruptcy with a loan of $23 billion and the “One Ford” plan, to cut costs and reunify the company’s disconnected business. This Thursday the board of directors will meet to discuss Mulally successor and also Ford’s situation in Europe where it expects to lose more than $1 billion this year, due to the economic crisis that has dramatically affected the demand.

“We got the sense that Ford is targeting a restructuring plan that will result in break-even operations at current industry production volumes,” Jefferies analyst Peter Nesvold said in a note this week.

The restructuring plan includes cutting costs and also the introduction of 15 new or restyled models in Europe in the following 5 years.