Ford has appointed Mark Fields as the company’s chief operating officer, promoting him from his current position as the head of Ford Americas. Industry watchers say that this increases the chances of Fields becoming head of Ford when current CEO Allan Mulallay steps down.
Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford, also announced that Mulally, who was the head of Boeing before he joined Ford, will remain as the CEO of the company until the end of 2014.
Fields is best-known in the European car industry as the boss of Ford’s old Premier Auto Group, which then included Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Volvo and Lincoln. He replaced ex-BMW product supremo Wolfgang Reitzle in 2002, whose plan for investing heavily in the PAG Group was rejected by Ford.
Fields left the PAG group in 2006 after which it was slowly dismantled, with Ford selling off JLR in 2006, Aston in 2007 and Volvo in 2008. Critics say that under Fields’ direction, PAG did not take advantage of the global move towards premium brands and that the dismantling of PAG under Mulally, after he became CEO in 2006, was a significant strategic mistake — particularly in light of the subsequent success of JLR.