Crowning Of Mark Fields

Mark Fields - COO Ford
Mark Fields

DEARBORN, MI-The long-awaited crowning of Mark Fields as COO and CEO-to-be of Ford Motors took place here September 13, when Ford’s board of directors set a retirement date for Alan R. Mulally, who has been company CEO for six years of restructuring and skillful reorganization, without enduring a Federal bankruptcy sentence, like its domestic Big Three competitors General Motors and Chrysler Group.

Fields, 51, a native of Brooklyn, NY, was serving as president of Ford’s Americas division when he finally took on the COO designation as second in command to executive company chairman, William Clay Ford Jr.

“Bill Ford,” as he is called, is patriarch of the ruling Ford family and was serving as CEO when Mulally, 66, joined the automaker in 2006 after a lengthy career as a senior executive at Boeing Company, the aircraft manufacturer based in Seattle.

As the first Jewish senior executive to hold a ranking Big Three position, Fields occupies a unique designation in the global auto industry. Fields holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard. He held executive posts at IBM before joining Ford’s Mazda Motors subsidiary, moving later to Jaguar and Land Rover in 2005 when they were Ford divisions.

Under Mulally, who led Ford’s downsizing program as it discarded the Mercury brand and several hundred Ford franchises, Fields orchestrated global programs such as One Ford and My Ford Touch while undertaking a repositioning of the Lincoln brand and dumping the Crown Victoria patrol car.

Fields also guided Ford into a major refinancing after he joined the company in 2006, borrowing $23.5 billion in cash and mortgaging “every Ford asset”-like its vast real estate holdings-including all its plants, hundreds of dealerships, office buildings, vehicles and parts inventories.

The Ford family was stung in 2001 by publication of the hard-hitting book, Henry Ford and the Jews, a 416-page volume. Neil Baldwin’s book captures in graphic detail company founder Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic record. The book is subtitled The Mass Production of Hate.