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by Tim Beissmann

A high-ranking Ford Motor Co. executive says CEO Alan Mulally is “absolutely focused” on his role at the US car maker despite reports anointing him as the frontrunner to take the reins of technology giant Microsoft.

US-based website All Things D reported late last week that Mulally had “vaulted to the forefront” of candidates to become Microsoft’s new CEO to replace current head Steve Ballmer, who last month announced his intentions to step down within 12 months.

But Ford chief operating officer Mark Fields said there was “no change” to the company’s November 2012 announcement, when Ford executive chairman Bill Ford confirmed Mulally would remain in the top spot until at least the end of 2014.

“[Mulally is] absolutely focused on the business, particularly on setting a long-range strategy for the company,” Fields told Bloomberg. “He’s very engaged.”

Mulally himself told Bloomberg as recently as September 6 that he planned to continue as CEO at Ford for at least the duration of his current contract.

The 68-year-old businessman has been a close advisor to Ballmer, who in July unveiled a reorganisation of the company dubbed ‘One Microsoft’, reminiscent of the car maker’s ‘One Ford’ globalisation strategy.

Mulally is renowned as a turnaround master, and famously borrowed heavily after assuming the lead role at Ford in 2006 to help the company avoid bankruptcy in 2009 and emerge in a strong financial position.

Microsoft has declined to comment on the reports and Mulally is also yet to address them.




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