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Published: Wednesday September 12, 2012 MYT 8:28:00 AM
NEW YORK: Ford Motor Co's board of directors will discuss this week a succession plan for Chief Executive Alan Mulally, who is expected to retire by the end of 2013, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
The news agency also reported that Mark Fields, head of Ford's operations in North and South America, will be promoted to chief operating officer, a move that would put him first in line to replace Mulally, 67. Bloomberg cited a person familiar with the matter.
A Ford spokesman declined to comment on the report, saying the company does not speculate on personnel decisions.
Mulally joined Ford in 2006 from airplane maker Boeing Co . He is credited with steering the automaker back from the brink of bankruptcy with a $23 billion loan and a plan, dubbed "One Ford," to unify once-disconnected business units and cut costs.
Finding a successor is crucial for Ford because Mulally is so closely identified with Ford's success and ability to avoid the federal bailouts that rescued its U.S. rivals General Motors Co and Chrysler Group LLC.
This month's board meeting is scheduled for Thursday in Dearborn, Michigan, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Bloomberg reported that Ford's board may vote this month or in October to promote Fields, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Analysts widely expect Mulally to retire by the end of next year. Fields, 51, and Joe Hinrichs, 45, have been seen as the most likely internal candidates to succeed Mulally when he retires. Ford's executive chairman, Bill Ford, has said he wants the next CEO to come from within Ford's executive ranks.
Mulally has repeatedly declined to comment on his retirement except to say that the company has a succession plan for every position, including his own.
If Fields is appointed COO, it will be the first time since 2006 that someone has occupied that position at Ford. In 2006, Jim Padilla retired as Ford president and COO. When asked at a Ford event on Monday if he would like to be Ford's next CEO, Fields declined to comment. - Reuters
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