Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally will retire July 1 and the company's No.

2 executive Mark Fields will take the helm, the Dearborn automaker announced Thursday.

Fields, who has been chief operating officer, will be named Ford president and chief executive officer and be named to the board. Mulally had repeatedly vowed to serve through the end of 2014 but changed his mind after he decided the new team was ready, the company said.

“From the first day we discussed Ford’s transformation eight years ago, Alan and I agreed that developing the next generation of leaders and ensuring an orderly CEO succession were among our highest priorities,” Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. said. “Mark has transformed several of our operations around the world into much stronger businesses during his 25 years at Ford. Now, Mark is ready to lead our company into the future as CEO.”

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Mark Fields To Be Next Ford CEO; Alan Mulally To Step Down July 1

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