Ford said Alan Mulally plans to continue to serve as president and CEO until “at least” 2014, while it has also announced Mark Fields will be the company’s new COO, effective 1 Dec.

Mulally will continue leading the strategic development of the One Ford plan, with Fields responsible for all business operations.

Fields will continue to report to Mulally, as will the company’s chief financial officer, general counsel and group vice president of human resources and corporate services.

Ford’s automotive business units – The Americas (including both North America and South America); Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia Pacific – will report to Fields.

Also reporting to Fields will be most of the company’s functional skill teams, including: product development; manufacturing and labour affairs; purchasing; quality; sustainability, environment and safety engineering; information technology; government and community relations; marketing, sales and service; and communications.

“Mark Fields is the natural choice for the COO post at Ford as he is an excellent strategist with a deep understanding of all facets of the company,” said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst at TrueCar.com.

“His international experience will be an added bonus for Ford as the bulk of their growth is expected to come from outside of the North American market in the next decade. The European market can particularly benefit from Field’s carefully calculated progressive management style.”

Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs said: “Many of us were sceptical when Alan Mulally arrived at Ford, with his ‘aw shucks’ style of talking and his lacking automotive experience but it turns out he was just what Ford needed.

“He immediately saw some obvious problems, such as why the company dropped the well-known and popular Taurus nameplate. He instantly brought that back as one of his first actions. More significant, however, he noticed that the Fords sold in various markets were all different. A European Ford Focus, for example, was different from an American Ford Focus. Mulally set Ford on a course of One Ford around the globe, and above all, he set a winning course and stuck with it, something the zig-zagging Ford had not experienced since perhaps the Model T.

“Wall Street is surely breathing a sigh of relief, since fear had swirled that Ford would revert to its old ways of backbiting and fiefdoms without Mulally keeping the place in check.

“Mark Fields earned his stripes heading North American operations and turning them around, both on the cost side – by closing plants and cutting jobs – and the revenue side – by overseeing the launch of a long string of significant and ultimately successful new models.

“North America is the bright spot for Ford as demonstrated by the automaker’s most recent earnings performance.”