Ford Chairman Bill Ford rekindled speculation about Alan Mulally's successor recently when he said he expects the next CEO to come from within the company.
Mulally has shown no signs that he'll leave soon, but he is about to turn 66. So it doesn't take much to spark a guessing game about who comes next.
The contenders, by consensus, are: Mark Fields, 50, Ford's president of the Americas; Jim Farley, 49, global marketing chief; Joe Hinrichs, 44, president of Ford Asia Pacific; CFO Lewis Booth, 62; and Derrick Kuzak, 59, vice president of global product development. All have contributed to the company's much-improved condition.
But Mulally was an outsider, from Boeing's commercial aircraft division, before coming to Ford in 2006 as CEO. And that worked out pretty well. So won't the chairman consider another newcomer to the auto industry?
"Part of my job is to look everywhere," Ford told the Detroit Free Press. "But I really like our talent and would be surprised if we didn't pick someone from inside."