Learning to lead Ford, Fields studies Lincoln
Fields: New job at Ford has resulted in lots of homework.
Life has changed quite a bit for Mark Fields since he began running Ford's business plan review meetings, which each morning bring together the leaders of all the company's business units to discuss global operations.
Fields says leading the daily discussions requires a ton of homework.
"I can no longer get up and go to the bathroom, and very rarely do I get to eat any food," he told reporters at the Detroit auto show this month.
In October, Fields was promoted from head of Ford's Americas unit to COO, making him heir-apparent to CEO Alan Mulally, who had run the meetings since coming to Ford in 2006.
Lincoln: Brought rivals together
Mulally still sits in on the sessions, right next to Fields.
"He provides a lot of continuity, a lot of strategic guidance," says Fields.
And Mulally isn't the only teacher that Ford's CEO-in-waiting has these days. Fields says he's immersed in the book Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin's acclaimed study of how President Abraham Lincoln mastered his sometimes fractious Cabinet.
Says Fields, 600-plus pages in: "Boy, am I learning a lot."