Who Is Mark Fields? The Next Ford CEO

A man named "Mark Fields" was just outed as probably the next CEO of Ford. But who is he? What's his background? Does he know anything about cars? Does he bring in any outside blood? And what's the deal with the luscious mane that sits atop his head? Here are all your Mark Fields questions, answered.

So what's his deal?

I don't know what you mean by that. You're going to have to be more specific. This is Mark Fields, we're talking about.


Ugh, alright. Where's he from?

Basics, good. I like that. Mark Fields was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family (so a new start to the Dearborn Independent looks doubtful), but unlike the descendants of Henry Ford, he grew up in Paramus, New Jersey, and graduated from Paramus High School. He then went on to get his bachelor's at Rutgers, like a good Jersey boy, and he also managed to get an MBA from Harvard. They don't just hand those things out, either, so he's probably smart in some sense of the word.

And how'd he get the CEO job?

By working up the corporate ladder, mostly. He had a brief stint at IBM before getting his MBA, but he joined Ford in 1989, at the ripe old age of around 28. Fields started out fairly low on the corporate totem pole, but over the years he's had plenty of jobs within Ford. By the time he was 38, Ford placed him in charge of Mazda, and he managed to turn that company around well enough.


Ford found him to be so good at running Mazda, in fact, that just four years later, in 2002, they put him at the head of what was then known as the Premier Automotive Group, which consisted of Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, and Volvo. With the exception of Lincoln, all of those brands have now been sold off, and Lincoln itself is now sort of languishing on the vine. So take that legacy as you will. Maybe it had something to do with that awful beautifully-fitting suit.


By October of 2005, he was brought back to the States to run Ford's Americas division, and in December of 2006, he was made the business unit chief of the area.

He was named Chief Operating Officer of Ford in November of 2012. That basically put him in charge of running the entire company's day-to-day operations, which is not a Small Thing.


Oh, so he's basically a Ford Lifer?

Pretty much. While his predecessor, Alan Mulally, came over from Boeing and steered the company through its most tumultuous period during the Carpocalypse, Fields has been at Ford for the past 25 years. On the one hand, company lifers aren't great for injecting "new blood." On the other hand, this guy knows how the business works, and the company (hopefully) wouldn't keep promoting him if he wasn't doing something right.


But he knows cars, right?

If a guy working at Ford for the past 25 years doesn't know the difference between a Taurus and a Mustang, then I think we've all got bigger problems, as a society, that we need to work through.


What's with the hair?

I'm not sure what you mean. Sure, I guess it's impressive, in a sense, that guy over 50 still has any, but I don't really know...


No, this thing:


Oh yeah, that's just a bear pelt he stole from a passing member of the Queen's Guard. I think. I hope.

Someone should ask if they can run their fingers through it, just to make sure.

(actually, it's an execu-mullet haircut that he used to have, we used to make fun of, and is now gone. We miss it.)


Got any dirt on him?

What kinda dirt?

You know, something really crazy.

Depends on how you define crazy, I guess. I mean, it's not like he's a big fan of keeping secret geishas, or anything like that. Because that would be crazy.


But if you look at anybody who's risen through the ranks over 25 years, there's bound to be something. And Mark Fields has some somethings. There was that time he was a big proponent of Ford's disasterous "Bold Moves" ad campaign, and the time that he reportedly physically attacked the company's CFO for suggesting he should cut it, and company scion Bill Ford had to hold him back.

Guy loves an ad campaign, what can we say.

Oh, and then there was the time that he was forced to stop using the corporate jet as his own personal commuter vehicle, flying back and forth from Michigan to Florida to see his family on weekends, all while Ford was slashing workers and laying off thousands.


So there's that.

But otherwise, no, nothing too crazy. And probably no secret geishas. Right?

What's his future plan for Ford?

He hasn't publicly said yet, but he's had a major hand in running the company for the better part of the last decade. So it's probably going to be more of the same. If you like what Ford's done lately, what with the 2015 Ford Mustang, the Ford Taurus, and the Ford Fiesta ST, then great.


If you don't like any of those things, then too bad.

Anything else that's good to know?


Not really, but we really like this picture of him looking goofy with a computer in front of a Mazda Miata.

Welcome to the top job at Ford, Mark. We'll all be pulling for you.

For the company's sake.

Photos credit: Getty Images, AP

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