Ford’s Board Discussed Succession Plan image

With Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally close to retirement, the board has discussed a succession plan.

As part of the plan Mark Fields will be promoted from president of the Americas to chief operating officer, to succeed Mulally. The directors haven’t made yet the official announcement about their decision, although investors are eager to find out about the second-largest U.S. automaker’s plans.

Mulally was the one who managed to save Ford from without a federal bailout or bankruptcy. Mulally has not announced yet when he plans to retire, and this uncertainty is expected to affect Ford’s stock.

“I don’t think it’s helping,” said Adam Jonas, an analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York. “People just generally expect that because Mulally is at retirement age that he will leave soon. Mark Fields is overwhelmingly seen as the successor.”

Over the past year Ford’s shares have dropped 9.8%, almost reaching the December 2009 level, a year when the auto industry in the US hit a 40-year low. Mulally is expected to step down at the end of 2013, although he said he has no plans to retire from a job which he took in September 2006.