Ford prepares to name Fields COO

Mark Fields

Ford Motor Co. directors are preparing to promote Mark Fields to chief operating officer from president of the Americas, a move that anoints him as probable successor to CEO Alan Mulally, a person familiar with the plan told Bloomberg.

Ford's board may vote this month or next to elevate Fields, 51, a 23-year veteran of the automaker who helped lead a transformation of its North American operations from record losses four years ago to record profits this year, said the person, who asked not to be identified disclosing private plans.

This month's board meeting is scheduled to start tomorrow.

The promotion would put Fields in line to replace Mulally, 67, acclaimed for saving the second-largest U.S. automaker without a federal bailout or bankruptcy. Fields has long been the front-runner to replace Mulally, who is expected to retire at the end of next year, said the person.

Some Ford directors have determined Ford should go public with a succession plan to reassure shareholders and provide promotion opportunities for executives who now report to Mulally, The Wall Street Journal reported separately today.

The Journal, citing sources close to the company, reported the Ford board hasn't yet voted to approve a concrete succession plan.

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