US-based website All Things D reported late last week that Mulally (pictured left) had “vaulted to the forefront” of candidates to replace outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but Ford (pictured right) has since told Bloomberg he is not planning to bid the 68-year-old farewell just yet.
“The plan is he’s going to stick around,” Ford said
“I’m happy he’s sticking around. But we also feel really good about where we are in terms of succession.
Earlier this week Ford chief operating officer Mark Fields – the man most likely to lead the car maker after Mulally – said there was “no change” to the company’s November 2012 announcement, when Ford confirmed Mulally would remain in the top spot until at least the end of 2014.
Mulally, a renowned turnaround master, famously borrowed heavily after assuming the lead role at Ford in 2006, helping the company avoid bankruptcy in 2009 and emerge in a strong financial position, earning US$35.2 billion ($37.5 billion) over the past three years.
Ford said he understood why Mulally’s name had been linked to Microsoft and, despite his confidence that he would stay, reiterated his confidence in the company’s succession plan.
“Every corporation in the world should want Alan,” he said.
“As good as Alan is, we knew that he wasn’t going to last forever. Nobody does.
“We have the best team today that we’ve had in my working career. I feel really good, as does Alan, about where we are going forward.”