Fields To Replace Mulally as Ford CEO in July

May 01, 2014 03:56 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Ford has announced that Mark Fields will be replacing outgoing CEO Alan Mulally about six months earlier than expected, on July 1.

Rising from his position as chief operating officer, Fields previously served as president of the Americas division and also headed changes in Ford's European operations, according to . Fields, who was earlier reported to be the most likely candidate for CEO, has said he doesn't plan to appoint a new COO or shake up the current management team.

Mulally, who asked for the earlier timetable, has said that he won't keep a position on the board but hasn't outlined his plans after leaving the company. He had formerly denied rumors that he was leaving early, stating that he planned to stay to the end of the year.

His departure from the Dearborn, Mich., company comes during a good time for the carmaker, which is enjoying robust business in China and North America as well as growth in Europe, WSJ noted.

The shift should be particularly easy since Fields is already an integral part of management.

"We've had very few, maybe never, had a planned and smooth transition, all the way back to my great-grandfather," Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said at an event announcing Mulally's departure, as reported by WSJ.

"That is why this transition is so gratifying to me. Mark has been Alan's partner every step of the way. People are always asking, 'Gee, when Alan leaves, is the culture going to change back?' Mark has been an architect of that culture along with the management here," Ford said.

Mulally was a longtime Boeing executive who came to Ford in 2006, a year the carmaker posted a net loss of $12.6 billion. During his more than seven years as CEO, Mulally drastically streamlined company operations by reducing the company to just two brands, Ford and Lincoln. The automaker reported a net income of $5.7 billion in 2012.

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