So what does Mark Fields' midterm progress report look like? It's A-OK, according to the one man Fields most needs to impress: his boss, Ford CEO Bill Ford.
Bill Ford says he couldn't be happier with the performance of Fields, Ford's president of the Americas. Fields' team is "revisiting everything," said Bill Ford, speaking last week at a trade group event in Detroit honoring him as industry executive of the year.
"Mark has laid all the cards on the table (with) real honesty in terms of where we are, what we face, the condition we're in, the competitiveness or lack thereof of our products," Bill Ford said. "Only when you're dealing with real honesty can you come up with real solutions."
In fact, incorporating that brutal honesty into Ford Motor's corporate culture may just be the most important thing the automaker must do to turn around its U.S. business, Bill Ford said. The company's North American unit lost $1.55 billion before taxes and charges in 2005.
"I can deal with anything except the lack of truth," he said. "If I don't get good input, I guarantee you I'll make a lousy decision. I may still make a lousy decision with good input, but at least we've got a better shot."