Alan Mulally Will Hand Over Reins at Ford to Mark Fields on July 1

Tickers in this article: F
Updated with details of Ford announcement and analyst comments 

DETROIT (TheStreet) -- The last step for a superior manager is to manage his succession, which is what Alan Mulally has done at Ford .

Ford said Thursday that Mulally will retire July 1 and be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Mark Fields. Fields will also become a member of Ford's board.

Mulally, hired away from Boeing  in 2006, guided Ford through one of the worst financial crises in the history of the U.S. auto industry.

In his final act, he is overseeing the conversion of the country's best-selling vehicle, the F-150 truck, to a lighter-weight version with a sizable alumninum component.

Fields has been widely viewed as Mulally's successor, but the exact details of the timing had been in doubt.

"From the first day we discussed Ford's transformation eight years ago, Alan and I agreed that developing the next generation of leaders and ensuring an orderly CEO succession were among our highest priorities.: Chairman Bill Ford said in a prepared statement.

"Mark has transformed several of our operations around the world into much stronger businesses during his 25 years at Ford," Bill Ford said. Now, Mark is ready to lead our company into the future as CEO."

Kelley Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer said, "Mulally will be seen as the man who saved Ford.

"He came in after a series of failed leaders that had allowed Ford's product and position to deteriorate to a precarious position (and he) turned Ford around by changing the corporate climate, securing financing and creating a plan the company could follow back to profitability," Brauer said in a prepared statement.

"Mark Fields is well positioned to succeed Mulally after 25 years with the company," Brauer added. He's been the favored successor to run Ford for several years because of his background and experience with the automaker." 

Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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