All eyes on Ford’s leadership

How good are Alan Mulally, Jim Farley and Mark Fields? They pretty much brought Ford Motor back from abyss to one of the most respected brands on the road. Can they do the same for Lincoln?

Now that Mercury will be hitting the graveyard later this year, all eyes will be on Ford’s leadership to reviving a storied but recently lost brand in Lincoln. It’s going to get tougher to charge premiums for near luxury vehicles in this market with Ford, Chevy and Nissan delivering what most would have only expected from expensive brands just a few short years ago. Sometimes you have to take a few steps back before you can move forward and Ford/Lincoln will start writing a new chapter in their history after Mercury becomes a part of it!

From AutoNews.com:

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. must do with Lincoln what it has done with the Ford brand — infuse it with new energy and sparkling product — if it is to offset the loss of Mercury sales when that 71-year-old brand dies.

Though Lincoln has a freshened lineup and stronger styling than in the past, it is still an also-ran among luxury brands in the United States. Ford clearly will need more volume from Lincoln to appease Mercury dealers — especially those who currently have Lincoln-Mercury stores.

“We have to make a very compelling case to our dealers very quickly,” says Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, in an interview.

Read the full article here.

  

Ford’s Farley says recession was a blessing for digital

Notice how Ford actually connects with customers with their new marketing campaigns? Well we know Alan Mulally gets a ton of credit but Jim Farkey is the true architect behind this new found smarts in advertising at Ford. In this piece Farley talks about how the recession made Ford and other companies rethink all of their marketing and the opportunities it created in digital.

If Farley keeps performing at this level he will be one of the names thrown around to replace Mulally when the time comes or he’ll get scooped up and nabbed by another automaker for CEO.

From AutoNews.com:

NEW YORK — Ford marketing boss Jim Farley says the economic downturn in recent years created new opportunities for digital marketing.

“Everything has to work in this economy,” Farley said here Wednesday at Advertising Age’s Digital Conference. “If the economy hadn’t dropped the way it did, we would have been on auto pilot and not experimented the way we did. Our production quality online is better than our broadcast.”

Advertising Age is an affiliate of Automotive News. That experimentation is led by what Farley calls the democratization of marketing.

Read the entire article here.

  

Ford CEO Mulally talks to new GM Chairman Whitacre

During the course of this conversation between Mulally and Whitacre, do you think the names, Mark Fields, Jim Farley or Joe Hinrichs came up? It would be a major coupe if GM could tap one of these three to be the CEO at The New General. A young and talented CEO with a take no prisoners Chairman like Whitacre might be what the people ordered from GM.

Per Reuters.com:

DETROIT, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a CNBC interview on Thursday that he had talked this week with General Motors Co [GM.UL] Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre.

Mulally, who Ford hired away from Boeing Co (BA.N) three years ago, did not discuss details of his conversation with Whitacre. Whitacre became chairman of GM in July and was named CEO on Dec. 1 with the resignation of CEO Fritz Henderson.

“Well, matter of fact, we did talk yesterday,” Mulally said in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC. “He’s reaching out just the way that I did when I came in.”

Read the full article here.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

  

Fritz Henderson out as CEO of GM


Photo from fOTOGLIF

We’ve been hearing rumblings for a while that board chairman Ed Whitacre was determined to change the culture at GM, and that everyone, including CEO Fritz Henderson, would be judged by a very high standard. BusinessWeek had an excellent report on this several months ago.

We learned today the Henderson has been fired by the board, and that Whitacre will take over an interim CEO. That’s quite a shake-up, and I’m sure we’ll learn more in the coming days. It’s either a sign of disarray at the new GM, or perhaps a sign that the new board is determined to set a new standard and see results.

They will almost certainly look outside of the company for the next chief. Tapping an upcoming star from the Ford stable isn’t a bad idea. Mark Fields or Jim Farley would be interesting and aggressive moves by the new GM board. Let the speculation begin!

  

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