Ford (F) has reportedly settled on current Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields to succeed Alan Mulally, the car maker’s highly-respected chief executive credited with reviving the company and steering it through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Mulally, 68, had previously announced that he would stay with the automaker at least through this year.
Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, Bloomberg News said the announcement could come before May 1.
A Ford spokesman declined to comment on the reports.
The company issued a statement reading, “There is no change from our previous announcements and we do not comment on speculation. We take succession planning very seriously, and we have succession plans in place for each of our key leadership positions. For competitive reasons, we do not discuss our succession plans externally.”
Ford, the second largest U.S. car maker, was the only Big Three Detroit auto maker not to file for bankruptcy or accept government bailout funds during the worst of the recent financial crisis.
Mulally arrived at Ford in 2006 after serving as CEO of Boeing (BA).
Mulally is widely expected to accept another high-profile corporate leadership position after transition out of Ford. He was reportedly strongly considered to replace Steve Balmer as CEO of Microsoft (MSFT).
Fields, 53, is a 25-year veteran of Ford. It was assumed he was being groomed as Mulally’s successor when he was named COO in December 2012.