Moving into position to possibly succeed Mulally is Americas unit chief, Mark Fields, who has been promoted to chief operating officer. Operational control of the automaker will be transferred to Fields, the New York Times noted.
The announcement confirms Mulally’s intention to remain with Ford. With daily operational management now headed by Fields, Mulally will concentrate on developing business strategy for the auto giant.
Fields’ promotion does not guarantee that he will eventually be named CEO, but it certainly strengthens his position in the horse-race to succeed Mulally. The company’s Executive Chairman, Bill Ford, has said he would like the next CEO to be an insider.
Current head of Asian operations, Joe Hinrichs will succeed Fields as the head of the Americas unit.
Earlier this week, Ford announced third-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street expectations.
Shares of Ford slipped fractionally in Thursday afternoon trading.