From Mulally to Fields, Ford Understands the Importance of Leadership Transition

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The transition of leadership at Ford (F) in July -- from Alan Mulally to Mark Fields -- marks an uncommon event among large corporations: the planned, transparent and smooth succession of the top leader of the organization.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, Ford stock is holding steady for the day at $17.30. The stock is up 12% year to date. 

Unlike at GM (GM) a few years ago, at Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) or any number of other companies, the upcoming change marks a process so well defined and understood by the organization, the public and the markets, that it is seen across the board as a positive move.

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The one concern that some pundits have is whether or not Mark Fields can fill the shoes of Alan Mulally, a well-recognized turn-around artist that took Ford from near bankruptcy to multi-billion dollar profits in 8 years.

In my opinion, not only can Fields not fill Mulally's shoes, he would be well advised not to try.

Fields' task is to bring a new direction to a stabilized, but still challenged, organization. (Ford appears to be on more solid footing than recall-riddled GM.) Fields brings different strengths than Mulally. With over 25 years at Ford, Fields has the experience and know-how to lead Ford through some aggressive challenges. He has filled high-level positions in the U.S., South America and, most importantly, Asia -- which positions him as an insider with a strong world view.

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