Ford's Mulally won't dismiss Boeing, Microsoft speculation

Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:37pm EDT
 
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By Norihiko Shirouzu and Paul Ingrassia

WUHAN, China (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) Chief Executive Alan Mulally repeatedly declined to dismiss reports that he was approached to run Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote) and speculation that he may be in line for a leadership role at Boeing.

"I love serving Ford" was Mulally's repeated comment on the sidelines of an auto conference in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, when asked if he had been approached either directly or indirectly to lead either of those companies.

Ford has repeatedly said there was no change to a plan for executive appointments announced last November, which included Mulally's. Mulally was set to continue to serve as Ford CEO through the end of 2014, giving the automaker more time to gauge potential successors, notably Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, who now oversees most of Ford's daily operations.

"There is no change in the plan that we outlined in November of last year," Mulally told Reuters on Friday. However, Reuters has reported that Ford's board might be open to his departure before his current commitment expires in 15 months.

Mulally, who is 68 years old, came to Ford from Boeing after 38 years there. He is now the third longest serving CEO in Ford's history after Henry Ford I and Henry Ford II.

He has been credited for leading the dramatic resurgence at the U.S. automaker since his arrival in 2006. His name has lately been mentioned in several reports, mostly speculative, that he might be a candidate for the top job at Microsoft.

Both companies have faced well-publicized struggles lately: Boeing with its problem-plagued 787 Dreamliner commercial jetliner launch and Microsoft with a stock price that has been stagnant for a decade.

FORD'S TRANSFORMATION   Continued...

 
Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, speaks next to the Lincoln MKZ mid-size sedan as Jim Farley (L) ,Ford Motor Co. Group Vice-President Marketing and Sales, and former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmit Smith look on during a news conference in New York December 3, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton