Ford Succession Plan: What Does the Company Need?

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Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Robert Kaplan, professor at Harvard Business School and Bloomberg Industries’ Kevin Tynan discuss the succession plan at Ford, why it is important for Alan Mulally’s plan to continue and what Mulally offers to Microsoft if that is his next stop. They speak on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”

Going to carry on the current vision and the current culture.

Alan mulally and bill ford have done a good job cultivating succession candidates with mark field being the most obvious.

That is what they need, someone who is going to carry on consistent with the current vision and continue to operate this plan.

I think that is what they are going to do.

Are we putting too much weight into who sits in that seat?

Clearly alan mulally has been an expert ordinary leader within the company, but does it matter that much?

Mark has been his right-hand man in that seat, why would there even be that you give a hick up?

It matters a lot, who is the ceo.

If it is mark fields, it will be a relatively smooth transition.

That is what you want.

Who is in the job is enormously consequential.

Picking someone from the inside who has been working with alan mulally and is a proven leader is the best way to continue on their current path and i think that is exactly what they are going to do.

Let's not forget what a basket case ford was before alan mulally joined the company.

He has been there for seven years.

Is seven years long enough to build a good bench to reimagine the culture the way that we perceive it?

From the outside we see -- really, you do not know what kind of a company it is unless you are in the inside.

His point is that someone from the inside will continue that vision and where ford is now today and going forward to where it was, that is a very different place where at that point, as chrysler and gm wound up in bankruptcy, ford narrowly missed.

What he has done, subsequently, just needs to be continued.

I agree that the best way to do that is from the inside.

There is still a lot of work to do with ford.

You spent so much time at ford, help us to understand the culture.

When you think about the people in detroit who have been through the crisis together, what kind of shock would it put to the system if someone came from the outside?

I find the question or even the suggestion shocking.

I have never heard anyone suggest they may bring in an outside candidate.

Not only would you have someone not familiar with the culture that they work so hard to instill, you would lose the decades of experience.

You might lose joe hendrix or jim farley as well.

Continuing this culture of and during, i cannot imagine anyone even considering it as a possibility.

What do we know about these guys?

What are their relative strengths compared to alan mullally?

She is adept at opening cars and making them from start to finish.

Everyone around ford has heard the story time and again of mark fields stepping up at the thursday meeting, admitting to a problem with a bumper on the edge.

This is the first time they told the truth about something negative to the ceo.

Previously they would have only told about their successes and may be made up something to cover the mistake.

Mark fields was the first to adapt to this culture.

He has been sticking with it ever since.

That is the reason that alan mulally has marked him as his guy, he is truthful, honest, qualities that the midwestern engineer from kansas wants to promote.

Joe hendrix, of course, an ohio manufacturer, also embodying all of these positive traits.

Jim farley, brought in from lexis, making that company into what it was, a leader in american luxury, they hope that he will be able to sell link in the same way.

What is it about his style, his leadership skills, that he could bring to microsoft, if that is on the horizon for him?

He does a lot of things extremely well, but what he starts with is a clear vision for how the company adds value and what is distinctive.

He believes in blonde, straight, honest communication with his team, and then he drives the vision to align everything going on in the company.

While that sounds simple, it is hard to find ceos who can actually do that.

You have to be a very clear thinker and communicator, working well with others and he does all of those things extremely well.

He will have a lot to learn about the industry that microsoft is in, but he has the capability to do it and that is why he is so outstanding.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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