Ford's board decided on the leadership changes on Oct. 19.
The company also announced:
— Joe Hinrichs, who is now head of Asia Pacific and Africa, will replace Fields as head of the Americas. Hinrichs, who ran Ford's manufacturing operations before taking over Asia, has been frequently mentioned as a successor to Mulally.
— David Schoch, currently chairman of Ford China, will become head of the Asia Pacific region.
— Stephen Odell, group vice president of Europe, adds the Middle East and Africa to his responsibilities. Odell is also considered a candidate to succeed Mulally.
— Jim Farley, head of global marketing, will become the head of Ford's luxury Lincoln brand. Lincoln has been struggling, and Ford is trying to revive it with new products. It's also introducing Lincoln to China in 2014.
Ford hasn't had a COO since 2006, when former President and COO Jim Padilla retired. Mulally said he has never worked with a COO, either at Ford or at Boeing Co., where he spent 36 years before coming to Ford.
"I'm really looking forward to nurturing Mark and supporting this team," Mulally said.
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