Ford (F) has announced that its new Ford CEO will be Mark Fields, a 53-year-old Harvard Business grad.
He will take over in July when CEO Alan Mulally steps down.
Here are 5 things to know about the new Ford CEO Mark Fields.
#5: He’s been in-waiting for the job.
Ford named Fields their chief operating officer in 2012, which tasked him with handling the automaker’s day-to-day operations. As with many companies, such a position left him in line to take over as the new head of the American motor company.
#4: He’s invested in the ‘people connection’ with automobiles
As the LA Times reports, Fields got 20 matchbox cars as a child — which he still keeps. According to the paper, the New Jersey native says “it’s a reminder of the emotional attachment people have to their wheels and the power of childhood memories, whether it’s being carted in a minivan to a soccer game or a first ride in a Ford Mustang convertible with the top down.”
#3: He’s concerned with fuel economy
As Fields told the Times, meeting the new demands for better fuel efficiency will be one thing on his mind.
“I think the other opportunity for us going forward, which is kind of epitomized with the launch of the F-150 [pickup truck earlier this year], is continuing to deliver improved fuel economy for customers while also giving them the capability for whatever they want to do and meeting the national fuel standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.”
#2: His transition will be seamless
“We’ve had very few, maybe never, had a planned and smooth transition, all the way back to my great grandfather,” Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said at an event announcing Mulally’s departure.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
He has been running the company’s weekly business review—Mr. Mulally’s signature creation—for more than a year. He also created his own Wednesday morning meeting with key executives to regularly receive updates on the company’s product launch schedule.
Fields said no management changes are coming.
#1: He’s basically tasked with not screwing up
BusinessWeek has an interesting story that pretty much sums over the transition of power at Ford. In effect, as Ford isn’t one of the auto companies that is (at the moment) struggling, the real challenge Fields has is not keep the momentum going, and not lose steam.
In the past five years, Ford has booked $42.3 billion in profit and realized a net margin of 6.4 percent. Last year it sold 6.33 million vehicles, a bit fewer than it did in 2006. But it made an average profit of $1,130 on each one.
Ford already is facing rising warranty costs, and coupled with unknown outlooks in its most promising markets, the next few years come with a lot of uncertainty.
Ford stock is down 1.4% today.