Alan Mulally

Ford Motor Co. appointed Mark Fields, president of the Americas unit, as COO, putting him in line to succeed Alan Mulally when he retires no sooner than the end of 2014.

The appointment of Fields, 51, was part of a sweeping overhaul of Ford's executive ranks unveiled today. Speculation about Fields' possible appointment has been ongoing for several weeks. Mulally is 67.

Joe Hinrichs, currently group vice president and head of Asia Pacific Africa, will succeed Fields. Hinrichs is currently president of the Asia Pacific Africa region.

If you are trying to get a bead on what kind of car to buy next, you'd figure asking Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, would be a safe bet. Should you go hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, clean diesel, high efficiency gas, or all-electric? Mulally doesn't have an answer for you.

Ford is making bets on all those propulsion systems, because what drivers need and want, versus how global energy markets are going to shake out is far from clear even for a massive auto manufacturer. "We don't know what is going to be the preferred

Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally vows that revised versions of the Sync and MyFord Touch infotainment systems will be simpler and more reliable and says more improvements are coming. He also says Ford has tightened its quality-control process for developing those systems' software. That appears aimed at avoiding the glitches that have dogged the new technologies and hurt Ford's standings in quality and reliability studies. Told of anecdotal tales of shoppers who want to buy a Ford but won't if they have to take MyFord Touch, Mulally replied

Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel is Ford’s mantra as it brings its voice-activated Sync infotainment system to Europe and responds to polemics about the dangers of distracted driving. CEO Alan Mulally kept repeating the mantra this week as Ford finally brought Sync to Europe. It only took three years. Sync has been wildly successful in the new world since appearing in 2007, and Ford expects to sell 2 million Sync’d vehicles in the old continent by 2015. Regulators are casting increasingly nervous glances at all

Microsoft's and Ford's collaboration on Sync, the in-vehicle communications and entertainment system, is headed across the pond.

Earlier today, Ford CEO Alan Mulally announced the company's plans to bring Sync to its European models. He spoke at this week's CeBit trade show in Hannover, Germany.

Ford will begin with the 2012 model of the Focus. Other models that will ship with the technology installed have not been announced yet.

Innovation is a key corporate and national strategy. Everyone talks about innovation – but how many companies have a culture and structure encouraging innovation? As I discuss in my new book, The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream, great innovation drives the most successful companies, from old-line companies that innovate their turnaround, such as Ford, to new generation companies that innovate to lead entirely new categories, such as Google.

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