Promotions: A study in contrasts
Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.
The promotions and personnel changes announced by Ford Motor Co. last week were all internal and probably not much of a surprise to anyone.
It appears that the question of succession at Ford has been put to rest because everyone knows what's going to happen for the next couple of years. In the car business, what appears to be rock solid isn't always quite so obvious. But this is a good, simple transition that will end most of the speculation.
Alan Mulally will be around for at least another couple of years, which probably lets most folks at Ford, its dealers and suppliers all breathe a sigh of relief. He has done a masterful job. He may not be perfect, but he has steered Ford through the most difficult times. Even if Mulally makes more money than King Farouk, he's worth every penny of it.
Just about everyone expected Mark Fields to get the nod. Though he is about to become COO, it will be awhile until he is given the mantle of CEO, a job for which he has been training for the past few decades.
Those simple moves started a wave of other appointments and promotions, none surprising and all sort of expected.
It is nice to see the jobs go to longtime employees and stay within the ranks of Ford, as contrasted to what has happened at General Motors and even Chrysler, which brought in a number of Fiat executives.
When Mulally eventually is replaced as CEO, there will be nary a ripple because it will be business as usual for Fields to get the nod as CEO.
But in the meantime, Ford, like most of the world, must come to grips with Europe and see whether there is some solution beyond shuttering factories and laying off employees. Most people assume that the recession -- or worse -- will continue for at least another couple of years, making everyone in the industry scurry for solutions to stop their own bleeding.
It was nice to see the transition at Ford: No surprises, and everyone sort of expected the changes -- all from within.
The Ford board last picked Mulally, from Boeing, to take the reins. He and the Ford board are to be applauded for making clean and well-appreciated promotions, all from within.
You can reach Keith Crain at email@example.com.