In hindsight, Alan Mulally’s decision to come from Boeing to Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) may have been the automaker’s biggest break in recent memory. Since 2006 when he signed on, Ford has completely turned its operations around, weathered a global recession with grace and relative ease, and made its portfolio the strongest it has arguably ever been. So when it was announced that Mulally — who is 68 — would be stepping down from his post as CEO after July, it symbolized the end of a decidedly short, yet crucial era in Ford’s history.
“I’ve fallen in love with Ford, it’s a great company,” Mulally said in an interview with Bloomberg, which followed his final Town Hall meeting yesterday with employees at the automaker’s headquarters in Dearborn, the site said. “I’ll maintain many of the great relationships I have.” Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that despite his exiting the CEO office, Mulally will continue to play an active role as an advisor and counsel to current operating officer Mark Fields.
Mulally played an integral role in shifting Ford’s corporate culture to one of inclusion and open communication among departments, clearing out bureaucratic cobwebs that can slow companies to a crawl. Weekly meetings became commonplace, the management of which has since been passed on to Fields. Nonetheless, Mulally will remain close with the company, which will tentatively help ease the transition, as smooth executive departures haven’t exactly been Ford’s strong suit.
Mulally has been rather mum on his plans post-Ford. He’ll still hang around in some executive capacity — either as a board member or a chair, Bloomberg said. But his plans for what he’ll be doing after his stint as CEO remain unclear, though it’s reported that he would consider a job such as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has a $160 billion budget and is the fifth largest of any federal agency — but he declined to comment on that. “What I’d like to do is call you on July 2 and tell you what I’m thinking about,” Mulally told Bloomberg. “And I’ll probably call you from a Starbucks.”