Automotive News’s interview with Ford human resources chief Joe Laymon reveals a gang of six internal candidates who could replace CEO Alan Mulally in four or five years when he is likely to step down.
A big revelation that Jim Farley is on the list? Hardly. We wrote when Farley weas hired last Fall that we were probably looking at the next Ford CEO if he lasts that long. To know and observe Farley is ot see that he is not only a Mulally pick, but that he is also out of central casting for chairman Bill Ford. He is of Bill Ford’s generation, and a his Toyota education before coming to Ford makes him an obvious choice.
What I did find a little strange is Laymon laying out the list at all, and curiously calling himself the “owner” of Ford’s succession strategy. The “owner?” I can see the “facilitator,” or the “secretary.” But anyone observing Ford Motor Co. knows there is only one owner, and their names are all Ford.
For the record, the list is Americas’s chief Mark Fields; chief financial officer Don Leclair; Ford Europe chief Lewis Booth; Ford Europe COO Steve Odell and manufacturing chief Jow Hinrichs.
One of these guys knows it’s his to lose. One knows he won’t get it, but feels it’s nice to be listed. One guy is deluding himself that he’s in the running. One guy hopes his head-hunter saw the list. One guy is wondering why he’s on the list at all. And the last guy hasn’t read the story yet to know he is on the list.