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Ford COO Fields Set to Replace Mulally: Report

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The day has finally come. Ford's (F - Get Report) CEO Alan Mulally will reportedly step down, paving the way for current-COO Mark Fields to replace him. 

It's not yet official, but the announcement is expected to come as soon at May 1. During the announcement, Ford enthusiasts and investors alike will be listening to see when Mulally's last day will actually be.

This is big news, not only in the auto world, but the corporate world as well. However, it's not surprising. 

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Investors have been expecting a Mulally resignation for quite some time, but were reassured by a 2012 announcement that he would remain at the company through 2014. 

That reassurance turned iffy in late 2013, when speculation heated up that Mulally would be headed for Microsoft (MSFT) to replace the departing CEO Steve Ballmer. 

Mulally's refusal to deny these reports only increased the speculation. (Here at TheStreet, we highlighted why he wouldn't be heading to Microsoft.)

In January, Mulally told the Associated Press that his plans at Ford had not changed. He planned to remain Ford's CEO through 2014. 

But  investors knew a successor was being prepped, the only question was -- who?

Ford's COO Mark Fields has been the favorite for some time. As early as 2011, reports surfaced suggesting Mulally, 68, might be on his way out, and that he and Bill Ford, the company's executive chairman, favored Fields as the next CEO. 

Two lingering questions now remain for Mulally: when will he be done at Ford and what will he do next?

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