Ford's CFO and Product Development Head to Retire, but Mulally Staying Put

CFO Lewis Booth, 63, and product development chief Derrick Kuzak, 60, have been among Mulally's key lieutenants in Ford's transformation.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally on Thursday said he has no plans to leave the automaker as he announced the retirement of two top executives.

"I have no plans to retire," Mulally, 66, told journalists, adding that it is "an honor to continue to serve Ford."

Mulally announced the departure of two key Ford Motor Co. officers and their replacements in a conference call with journalists.

Both Lewis Booth, executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Derrick Kuzak, group vice president for global product development, had been with Ford for more than three decades.

Booth had been considered a possible successor to Mulally.

Their retirements were in keeping with company's broad succession plan, said Mulally.

"Lewis and Derrick are two exceptional, experienced leaders," Mulally told reporters in a conference call.

"As you know we have operated as a team for five years now since I arrived. ... Our succession plan is that we have very broad and comprehensive positions inside Ford."

'The Very Best of Ford'

Booth, 63, and Kuzak, 60, have been among Mulally's key lieutenants in Ford's transformation from a company bleeding cash to one of the most successful companies in the industry today.

Booth became chief financial officer in late 2008, a week after the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a nationwide financial crisis that devastated the country's three big automakers. Prior to that position, Booth had been in charge of Ford's Europe division.

Kuzak, meanwhile, was instrumental in changing the look, feel and fuel economy of Ford's vehicle line.

Kuzak will be succeeded by Raj Nair, 47, currently vice president for engineering and global product development.

Booth will be succeeded by Bob Shanks, 59, who is vice president and controller.

Shanks and Nair assume their new positions April 1.

"Lewis Booth and Derrick Kuzak represent the very best of Ford and our culture and built a legacy of leadership, integrity and commitment to excellence that will benefit us for years to come," said Bill Ford, the company's executive chairman.

"Lewis and Derrick were absolutely integral to the comeback of Ford and they are retiring with our deepest respect and gratitude."

Meanwhile, Ford named former Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman to the company's board of directors.

Huntsman dropped out of the race for the party's nomination last month after a dismal finish in the New Hampshire primary.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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