Mulally Takes Ford CEO Post

BOSTON Strugglng Ford Motor Co. has made a change at the top, naming longtime Boeing executive Alan Mulally to succeed Bill Ford as chief executive officer, effective Oct. 1.

Bill Ford, 49, who frequently appeared in the automaker’s ad campaigns, had been CEO since 2001. He is the great-grandson of the company’s founder, and he now becomes executive chairman.

In a statement provided by the Dearborn, Mich., company, Bill Ford said, “While I knew that we were fortunate to have outstanding leaders driving our operations around the world, I also determined that our turnaround effort required the additional skills of an executive who has led a major manufacturing enterprise through such challenges before. Alan has deep experience in customer satisfaction, manufacturing, supplier relations and labor relations, all of which have applications to the challenges of Ford. He also has the personality and team-building skills that will help guide our company in the right direction.”

Mulally, 61, an executive vice president at Boeing, led the company’s commercial aircraft division for the past eight years, cutting some 35,000 jobs to maintain the unit’s profitability. He is widely credited with helping to turn Boeing around. Overall, he spent 37 years at the company.

“Clearly, the challenges Boeing faced in recent years have many parallels to our own,” Bill Ford said.

Mulally will face a rough road at Ford, which lost $1.3 billion in the first half of 2006 and plans massive plant closings and layoffs to stay competitive. (Ford is trimming 30,000 jobs and shuttering 14 facilities in North America by 2012.)

At Boeing, Scott Carson, vice president and global sales director, has been named to succeed Mulally.

WPP Group’s JWT in Detroit is Ford’s lead agency. The client spent approximately $2 billion in domestic measured media last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Boeing spent $25 million on U.S. ads last year; its lead shop is Interpublic Group-owned Draft FCB in Chicago.