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Jim Farley Successor To Mulally?

Posted by: David Kiley on March 24, 2008

Automotive News’s interview with Ford human resources chief Joe Laymon reveals a gang of six internal candidates who could replace CEO Alan Mulally in four or five years when he is likely to step down.

A big revelation that Jim Farley is on the list? Hardly. We wrote when Farley weas hired last Fall that we were probably looking at the next Ford CEO if he lasts that long. To know and observe Farley is ot see that he is not only a Mulally pick, but that he is also out of central casting for chairman Bill Ford. He is of Bill Ford’s generation, and a his Toyota education before coming to Ford makes him an obvious choice.

What I did find a little strange is Laymon laying out the list at all, and curiously calling himself the “owner” of Ford’s succession strategy. The “owner?” I can see the “facilitator,” or the “secretary.” But anyone observing Ford Motor Co. knows there is only one owner, and their names are all Ford.

For the record, the list is Americas’s chief Mark Fields; chief financial officer Don Leclair; Ford Europe chief Lewis Booth; Ford Europe COO Steve Odell and manufacturing chief Jow Hinrichs.

One of these guys knows it’s his to lose. One knows he won’t get it, but feels it’s nice to be listed. One guy is deluding himself that he’s in the running. One guy hopes his head-hunter saw the list. One guy is wondering why he’s on the list at all. And the last guy hasn’t read the story yet to know he is on the list.

Reader Comments


March 24, 2008 8:41 PM

Seems premature if not also immature for anyone to be talking of a replacement for Mulally--unless there is another mangey flea-bag cat to let out of the bag. Ford will be lucky to still be around in four or five years, as will GM at the rate they are failing. Bad decisions seem to be so ingrained in Management that fresh thinking is out of the question if the past is any use in predicting the future. Yet Ford's Euro-spec cars have been up to date, pleasing to look at and drive and all, diametrically opposed to what they try to shove off on the US buyers.

I often wonder about the pressures brought to bear on the hirelings by that gang of losers, The Greater Shrinking-Coupon-Clipping Ford Family. Billy was incapable of leading the company, I suppose the others are even more worthless.

I kind of feel sorry for Mulally, I suspect he is anxious to get back to owning, driving, and thoroughly enjoying REAL CARS, his Lexus sedans. There is no way Ford can come up with anything like those masterpieces, let alone a Toyota knock-off regardless of its price point.


March 25, 2008 3:22 PM

Given today's announcement that Laymon is moving on to Chevron, I have to believe that his display of candor in the interview was done at the behest of Mulally. While the names of Leclair, Booth, Odell, and Hinrichs were mentioned (Derrick Kuzak being a glaring omission), they are clearly window dressing for the two who are in the shoot-out for the job: Fields and Farley. These are two men about the same age and have had meteoric rises in their respective careers.

This is going to be tough year for the industry, and Mulally is setting up a GE-style succession battle. Let the fireworks begin!


March 26, 2008 12:37 AM

Alan Mulally doesn't look or sound like an old man, so it wouldn't surprise me to hear, in the near future, that Ford will have signed him to a second five-year contract.

It's impossible to gauge the pace of the One Ford initiative from the outside, but I suspect Mulally would want to see the process to its conclusion. The first sign of progress --the new Fiesta-- arrives in the third year of his reign, so there's plenty of work left to be done.


April 9, 2008 2:04 PM

Americans buying imports are actually lousy workers trying to look better by driving one... Americans are hyprocrites. Soon enough , we will be hiring foreign lawyers, executives, doctors, technicians, government workers, teachers... Just dont ask why we are not coming back to Ford and GM, but why we are so bam bam dumb during this period of recession that can only go deeper and deeper.... This is the worst time to ask question.. Ford marketing team can be summariily fired and a foreign marketing team hired like pronto...
I guess I have to watch closely at you hackers to gauge your bias on a daily basis... Someone has to watch over you, sorry about that...
Lucky for me I copied and paste every comment beforehand just in case you try your dirty old legal censorship trick in the name of democracy!


April 9, 2008 3:13 PM

Why is Wall Street still waiting for better times before jumping back in Ford and GM stock? Shareholders are nervous long enough, arent they? Enough suffering...Juat dont give all that crap about responsible investing... It is about rescuing Ford and GM not crapshooting at GM and Ford with those frivolous PR announcements and teaser stories...

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