Current position: President of the Americas
Career highlights: From 2002 to 2005, Fields served as executive vice president of Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group. Prior to that, Fields was chairman and CEO of PAG.
From 2000 to 2002, he was CEO of Mazda Motor Corp. after moving to the Japanese automaker as head of marketing and sales.
Key accomplishments: At the tender age of 38, the Harvard MBA was promoted to lead Mazda through a transformation. The Japanese tend to equate age with wisdom, so Fields had to convince them that he knew what he was doing. He redefined Mazda's image and product to that of stylish and sporty. He also took out structural costs, including closing a plant and cutting 20 percent of Mazda's work force in a culture accustomed to lifetime employment.
Why he'd be a candidate: Fields is the top contender for the job. He has run three of Ford's big business units successfully. He is well-liked by most of the board and, more important, by the Ford family,
On the other hand: Fields could struggle to match Mulally as an inspiring leader. Mulally thrives on ad-libbing and engaging in witty banter with the audience. Fields sticks to the script with rare injections of anecdotes or humor. Also, some dealers have strained relations with him.