Mulally denies plan to leave Ford

Alan Mulally’s tenure at Ford Motor Co. is back in the headlines after a report that he is considering leaving the CEO post before 2015 to pursue another high-profile job.

Reuters cites sources who say the board is aware of Mulally’s pursuit of other opportunities including a post with the Obama administration, and that the board would accept an exit before 2015.

But Ford says that isn’t so. “I love serving Ford and will continue serving Ford,” Mulally said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Mulally spoke Friday in Berlin at the IFA technology show. Ford is showing the new Ford S-Max concept at IFA as well as at the Frankfurt auto show.

In emails to the media, he has said he is committed to staying at Ford through 2014, as previously outlined in Ford’s succession plans.

“There is no change from what we announced in November: Alan Mulally plans to continue to serve as Ford’s president and CEO through at least 2014,” said Ford spokesman Jay Cooney.

Even so, Mulally’s name has come up as a possible interim successor to Steve Ballmer, 57, who plans to step down as CEO of Microsoft Corp. in the next year.

Ford and Microsoft joined to develop the Sync infotainment system that is now in all Ford and Lincoln vehicles, and top executives at the two companies continue to share management tips. But it is unclear whether Mulally’s age and background are the best fit for Microsoft, if it wants a young tech guru at its helm.

Mulally has put his stamp on the automaker since he was hired from Boeing seven years ago. He is credited with taking a culture of infighting and creating a more cohesive team dedicated to corporate turnaround and excellence.

As part of succession planning, the board promoted Mark Fields, 52, last year to the new position of chief operating officer. He is considered the top candidate to succeed Mulally in 2015.

Mulally has turned around operations in North America and is overseeing a plan to expand Asia Pacific and address problems in Europe and South America by mid-decade.

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