Ford will reportedly name Mark Fields as its new Chief Operating Officer, moving the current president of the Americas one step closer to succeeding Alan Mulally as company CEO.
According to Bloomberg, Ford's board will decide by October whether to promote Fields to COO, essentially placing the 51-year-old next in line to lead the Dearborn-based automaker. Fields is a 23-year veteran of Ford and has been credited with the company's North American turnaround.
Rumors surrounding Ford's next CEO have been swirling for months. Although Mulally, 67, says he has no plans to vacate his position anytime soon, it is widely believed that Ford is preparing for new leadership behind the scenes.
Ford is keeping quiet about its plans, but says it is planning for the future.
“We do not comment on speculation about personnel actions,” Ray Day, a spokesman, told Bloomberg. “Regarding succession, Ford Motor Co. takes succession planning very seriously, and we have succession plans in place for each of our key leadership positions.”
Meanwhile, Joe Hinrichs, head of Ford's Asia operations, and Jim Farley, the company's sales and marketing head, are also still in the running to become the company's next CEO. However, at this point it appears as though Fields is the clear frontrunner.