DEARBORN, Mich. — The succession plan for Ford Motor Co. Alan Mulally became a little clearer today when Executive Chairman Bill Ford announced that Mark Fields will become the company’s new COO on Dec. 1.
The move puts the head of Ford’s North and South American Operation in line to replace the 67-year-old Mulally, who plans to continue serving in his current role until at least 2014. Until then, Mulally will continue leading the long-term strategic development of the One Ford plan, while Fields will be responsible for all business operations.
Fields will continue to report to Mulally, as well the company’s CFO, general counsel and group vice president of human resources and corporate services. Ford’s automotive business units ─ The Americas (including both North America and South America), Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia Pacific – will report to Fields. Also reporting to Fields will be most of the company’s functional skill teams, including product development, manufacturing and labor affairs, purchase quality, sustainability, environment and safety engineering, information technology, government and community relations, marketing, sales and service, and communications.
Along with Fields’ promotion, Ford announced other leadership changes also set to take effect on Dec. 1. The company announced that Joe Hinrichs, current vice president and president of Asia Pacific Africa, was named executive vice president and president of The Americas.
Ford also announced that Stephen Odell, who currently serves as group vice president, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe, was named executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa. Africa, Ford, officials said, is being realigned with Europe and the Middle East under Odell to take advantage of profitable growth opportunities and efficiencies
Additionally, Jim Farley was named executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. He currently serves as group vice president, and will be adding operating responsibility as the senior global leader for Lincoln. He will work together with the company’s business units and functions on the re-invention of Lincoln.
David Schoch, current chairman and CEO of Ford of China, also was named group vice president and president of Asia Pacific. Additionally, John Lawler, current CFO of Ford Asia Pacific, was elected a Ford Motor Company vice president and named chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China.
“Today marks an important next step in the profitable growth of the Ford Motor Company and the appointment of key leaders who will help us continue to make progress on our One Ford plan,” Bill Ford said. “The strength of our people and stability of our team are competitive advantages for Ford. We are fortunate to have Alan’s continued leadership as well as talented senior leaders throughout our company who are developing and working together and delivering on our plan.”
For the past seven years as executive vice president and president of The Americas, Fields has been responsible for the transformation of the company’s North American operations and its record profitability. In the role, he has led the development, manufacturing, marketing and sales of Ford and Lincoln vehicles in the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America.
Hinrichs has led Ford’s Asia Pacific growth plan for the past three years, overseeing the current construction of nine new plants and spearheading a commitment to bring more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains to the region by mid-decade. He now will apply his extensive business and automotive experience to Ford’s Americas operations.
Odell is leading Ford’s transformation in Europe, with a focus on using the One Ford plan to achieve profitable growth through new products and increased cost efficiency. Having previously led the transformation of Mazda and Volvo, Odell will lead the company’s focus on growth in Africa and the Middle East.
Farley will continue to lead Ford’s global marketing, sales and service. His new global responsibility for the Lincoln brand will build on his experience growing Toyota’s Lexus brand around the world.
Schoch has been leading Ford’s growth in China, where it has invested more than $4.9 billion to introduce 15 new vehicles by 2015 and double production capacity. With extensive operational experience in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, Schoch now will lead the company’s growth plan for the entire region, having worked alongside Hinrichs for the past year.
Lawler assumes leadership of Ford Motor China, having served as CFO for Asia Pacific Africa. He will work alongside Hinrichs and Schoch to develop and implement the company’s aggressive growth plan in the region. Building on his considerable global operational experience – including being part of the team that led Ford’s North American transformation – Lawler now will focus on the world’s largest automotive market and the dramatic expansion of Ford’s presence in China.
“In addition to fundamentally transforming our company during the last several years, we have strengthened our team with world-class leaders who will enable us to sustain our One Ford journey,” Mulally said. “All of us at Ford remain absolutely committed to continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan, including dealing decisively with near-term challenges, investing for future growth and developing outstanding products with leading quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value.”