According to sources that spoke to Reuters, Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Alan Mulally could step down from office sooner than planned.
Credited with driving a culture change that helped save the No. 2 U.S. automaker and under a succession plan outlined late last year, Mulally, 68, was expected to stay on as CEO until at least the end of 2014. That was until now, when according to persons familiar with the matter, Ford’s board of directors is now open to letting him step down earlier as he explores other roles.
The board has also warmed to Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, a 24-year Ford veteran who is widely expected to be the next CEO, according to sources. The board is willing to let Mulally determine the timing of his potential exit, the sources said. Mulally is considering another high-profile job to follow up his tenure at Ford, they said, adding that he had discussed a role in the Obama administration at one point.
Mulally’s name has also been floated as a possible successor for Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who said in late August that he would retire within a year.