Ford Says CEO Alan Mulally Will Stay at Least Through 2014 (Update 1)

Story updated with statement from Ford.

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) said CEO Alan Mulally will remain on the job at least through 2014.

"There is no change from what we announced in November: Alan Mulally plans to continue to serve as Ford's president and CEO through at least 2014," Ford spokesman Jay Cooney said Friday morning.

The statement ended speculation that followed a report late Thursday that said Mulally, 68, could leave sooner than expected.

At that time, Reuters reported that Mulally may step down before the expected date at the end of 2014. Initially, this report triggered selling in Ford shares.

Ford shares closed Thursday at $17.30. After sliding to $17.21 in active, early premarket trading, the shares regained ground to $17.45 about an hour before the opening bell. However, shortly after the opening bell, the shares were down 25 cents to $17.05.

Ford's board "is now open to letting {Mulally}step down earlier as he explores other roles," Reuters reported, quoting sources. However, when Reuters asked Mulally about his plans, he replied in an email that he is "absolutely focused on serving our Ford."

Last month, technology-news Web site AllThingsD reported that Mulally could step in as interim CEO at Microsoft ( MSFT), given that CEO Steve Ballmer said on Aug. 23 that he plans to step down in the next 12 months.

The Reuters story was followed early Friday by a Bloomberg report that said, correctly, that Mulally intends to stay at Ford's helm through 2014.

"I plan to continue to serve as Ford's president and CEO until at least the end of 2014," and to remain "absolutely laser focused" on earnings growth, Mulally wrote in an e-mail to Bloomberg News on Friday. "I love serving Ford and will continue serving Ford," Mulally said in an interview from Berlin with Anna Edwards on Bloomberg Television's "Countdown."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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