DEARBORN - The following story in the Wall Street Journal speculates on future leadership of our company. The story is false and we feel it's important for you to know that. There is no search going on and there is no time frame identified for any leadership changes.
Search Begins for Next CEO at Ford
By Mike Ramsey, Wall Street Journal
Ford Motor Co. has begun a broad search for candidates to replace current Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, who is expected to leave the company within two years, people familiar with the matter said.
Candidates for the position include at least two former Ford executives as well as two internal candidates, those people said. The internal candidates are Americas President Mark Fields, 50, and Joe Hinrichs, 45, the chief of Asian operations.
The external candidates include John Krafcik, the chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor Co.'s North American arm and Phil Martens, the chief executive officer of Novelis Inc., an aluminum company.
The search for a replacement for Mr. Mulally is the biggest question looming over Ford because his influence on the company has been so profound. Mr. Mulally has never hinted at when he wants to leave, but he is 66 years old and maintains his permanent home in Seattle, where he lived as the chief of the commercial business for Boeing Inc. before coming to Ford five years ago.
A Ford spokeswoman said there is no search underway.
Chairman Bill Ford Jr. has repeatedly said the company would like to fill the position from within. Mr. Mulally and Mr. Ford declined to be interviewed on the matter, but Mr. Ford said in a written response to questions: "At Ford, we are fortunate to have a strong list of internal candidates and the Board is pleased to support their further development. While our preference always will be to develop talent internally, we also survey the external environment for potential candidates as a regular course of action."
All the top candidates have a good resumé. Mr. Martens led product development for Ford until 2005, when he left the company. He was at former auto supplier ArvinMeritor Inc. before joining Novelis. Mr. Krafcik worked in product development for Ford for 14 years before leaving in 2004 to join Hyundai.
Mr. Fields leads Ford's North and South American operations, now the principal profit center at the company. He led the recent turnaround of North America and overcame early troubles to become one of Mr. Mulally's top lieutenants. Mr. Hinrichs worked atGeneral Motors Co. before joining Ford. He was in charge of manufacturing before being put in charge of Asia two years ago.