“We’ve said at least through 2014, but I always listen to my chairman,” Mulally, 67, said today after the company’s annual meeting in Wilmington, Delaware. Executive Chairman Bill Ford joked with reporters: “I thought it was 2020? Or wasn’t it 2025? He’s got a long run.”
Mulally led Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford back to profitability without the federal bailouts and bankruptcies that befell the predecessors of General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler Group LLC in 2009. Ford has earned $35.2 billion the past four years after losing $30.1 billion from 2006 through 2008 as Mulally has pushed to add more competitive cars to the company’s lineup to complement its pickups and utility vehicles.
Ford last year promoted Mark Fields, 52, to chief operating officer, making him the front-runner to replace Mulally. Bill Ford, 56, said last year he would be surprised if the next CEO of the automaker founded by his great-grandfather came from outside the company.
Ford fell less than 0.1 percent to $14.20 at 10:38 a.m. New York time. The shares gained 9.7 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 14 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
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