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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ford Replaces Bill Ford With Boeing's Alan Mulally

Calling for a "lucky genepool" CEO to leave, no matter how influential the last name is, comes up often when a company is facing dismal performance. It goes without saying that Ford (F) fits that bill to the tee. Bill Ford is going to remain the executive chairman of Ford, but he is being replaced with Boeing's Alan Mulally as President & CEO of the day to day operations. Mr. Mulally will also be on the Board of Directors.

Bill Ford will remain focused on strategy, and the note at the end of this article will show he at least plans on staying....for now, anyway.

Mulally, who was with Boeing for 37 years, is credited with the turnaround in Boeing's commercial airlines operations, so he is no stranger to stepping into what is a bad business at a bad time.

"I think the opportunity to work with Bill Ford and Ford Motor Company is the only thing that could have attracted me to a job other than Boeing, where I have so many great friends and memories," Mulally said. "I'm looking forward to working closely with Bill in the ongoing turnaround of this great Company. I'm also eager to begin engagement with the leadership team. I believe strongly in teamwork and I fully expect that our efforts will be a productive collaboration."

Bill Ford said he expected Mulally would assist Mark Fields and the Way Forward team as they accelerate their business plan.

Mulally serves as co-chair of the Washington Competitiveness Council, and sits on the advisory boards of NASA, the University of Washington, the University of Kansas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. He is a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of England's Royal Academy of Engineering. Mulally holds bachelor's and master's of science degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Kansas, and earned a master's in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bill Ford wrote to workers: "Let me assure you: I'm not going anywhere....As executive chairman, I intend to remain extremely active in the direction of this Company. I'll be here every day and I will not rest until a prosperous future for this Company is secured."

It is hard to know and hard to say if there is a better candidate for this job, but this sure looks to be a step in the right direction for Ford. It may be at Boeing's expense, but Ford shareholders are probably feeling thankful.

Jon C. Ogg
September 5, 2006
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