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Alan Mulally

For the English cricketer, see Alan Mullally.
Alan Mulally
File:Alan Mulally 2011-04-01 001.jpg
Alan Mulally in 2011
Born Alan Roger Mulally
(1945-08-04) August 4, 1945 (age 74)
Oakland, California, USA
Residence Dearborn, Michigan, USA[1]
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Kansas
MIT Sloan School of Management
Occupation Former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company
Salary US$1.4 million salary +
US$16.5 million other compensation (2009)[2]
Spouse(s) Jane "Nikki" Connell
Children 5
Parent(s) Charles R. "Dick" Mulally
Lauraine Lizette Clark Mulally[1]

Alan Roger Mulally (born August 4, 1945) is an American engineer, business executive, and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company. He retired from Ford Motor Company on July 1, 2014. Ford had been struggling during the late-2000s recession, returned to profitability under Mulally and was the only American major car manufacturer to avoid a bailout fund provided by the government.[3][4] Mulally's achievements at Ford are chronicled in the book, An American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman, published in 2012. On July 15, 2014, he was appointed to the Google Board of Directors.[5]

Mulally was the executive vice president of Boeing and the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA). He began his career with Boeing as an engineer in 1969 and was largely credited with BCA's resurgence against Airbus in the mid-2000s.[6]

Early life

Mulally was born in Oakland, California, to Charles R. "Dick" Mulally and Lauraine Lizette Clark, who met at a USO dance.[1][7] Mulally grew up in his mother's hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, where he was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church. He considered Rev. Dale Turner "a mentor and an inspiration".[1][8] He used to sit at the front of the church to study the minister's influence on the congregation. Mulally said that he found himself motivated at the age of 17 by president John F. Kennedy's challenge to send a man to the moon.[9]


Mulally graduated from the University of Kansas, also his mother's alma mater,[1] with Bachelor of Science (1968) and Master of Science (1969) degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering. He was also a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He received a Master's degree in Management (S.M.) as a Sloan Fellow from MIT's Sloan School of Management[10] in 1982.[11][12]



Mulally led the design team of the first all-digital flight deck in a commercial aircraft, as seen here in the cockpit of the Boeing 767.

Mulally was hired by Boeing immediately out of college in 1969 as an engineer. He held a number of engineering and program management positions, making contributions to the Boeing 727, 737, 747, 757, 767 and 777 projects. He led the cockpit design team on the 757/767 project. Its revolutionary design featured the first all-digital flight deck in a commercial aircraft, the first two man crew for long range aircraft, and a common type rating for pilots on two different aircraft. He worked on the 777 program first as director of engineering and, from September 1992, as vice-president and general manager.[11]

He was later named as Vice President of Engineering for the commercial airplane group. He is known and recognized for elevating Phil Condit's "Working Together" philosophy through and beyond the 777-program. In 1994, Mulally was promoted to senior vice president of Airplane Development and was in charge of all airplane development activities, flight test operations, certification, and government technical liaison. In 1997, Mulally became the president of the Information, Space & Defense Systems and senior vice president.[13] He held this position until 1998 when he was made president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Chief Executive Officer duties were added in 2001.[11]

Following the forced resignations of Phil Condit in 2003 and Harry Stonecipher in 2005, Mulally was considered one of the leading internal candidates for the CEO position.[14] When Mulally was passed over in both instances, questions were raised about whether he would remain with the company.

For Mulally's performance at Boeing, Aviation Week & Space Technology named him as person of the year for 2006.[6]

Ford Motor Company

File:George Bush visit Kansas City Assembly.jpg
Mulally (wearing the red tie) with President George W. Bush at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri on March 20, 2007, touring Ford's new hybrid cars.

"An automobile has about 10,000 moving parts, right? An airplane has two million, and it has to stay up in the air." (on being asked "How are you going to tackle something as complex and unfamiliar as the auto business when we are in such tough financial shape?")

Alan Mulally, 2007[15]

Mulally was named the President and CEO of Ford Motor Company on September 5, 2006, succeeding William Clay Ford, Jr., who remained as Executive Chairman of the company's Board of Directors.[16] Mulally called his Lexus LS430 the 'finest car in the world', just as Ford was about to announce his selection as CEO, making the point that Ford was not then in a leadership position, though he then faced some criticism and switched to driving Ford models.[17][18] William Clay Ford Jr. had been searching for his successor as Ford CEO for some time, with Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche and Renault/Nissan Motors's Carlos Ghosn both turning down the offer.

One of Mulally's first decisions at Ford was to bring back the Taurus nameplate. He said that he could not understand why the company previously scrapped the Taurus, which had been one of the company's best sellers until losing ground in the late 1990s.[19]

Mulally took over "The Way Forward" restructuring plan at Ford to turn around its massive losses and declining market share.[20] Mulally's cost-cutting initiatives led to the company's first profitable quarter in two years.[21] Dividends to shareholders were also suspended.[22]

In 2006, Mulally led the effort for Ford to borrow US$23.6 billion by mortgaging all of Ford's assets. Mulally said that he intended to use the money to finance a major overhaul and provide “a cushion to protect for a recession or other unexpected event".[23] At the time, the loan was interpreted as a sign of desperation, but is now widely credited with stabilizing Ford's financial position, compared to crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler, both of whom had gone bankrupt during the automotive industry crisis of 2008–2009. Ford was the only one of the Detroit Three that did not ask for a government loan.[24] Mulally did testify before the United States Congress in favor of government loans for General Motors and Chrysler, discussing the impact to the economy and to other automobile manufacturers if parts suppliers were to go bankrupt in the light of a GM or Chrysler collapse.[25] In May 2009, Ford chairman William Clay Ford, who hired Mulally, said that "Alan was the right choice [to be CEO], and it gets more right every day".[15]

Mulally in Brazil with President Lula da Silva (top) and Senate leader José Sarney (bottom) in April 2010

In 2007, he presided over the sale of Jaguar Cars and Land Rover to Tata Motors, an Indian car and truck manufacturer. Mulally said he had "no regrets" over the sale, preferring to concentrate on the Ford brand, as then-CEO Jacques Nasser was criticized in 2001 for paying too much attention to new overseas acquisitions while letting the main Ford operations in the U.S. decline. Ford received US$2.3 billion on the sale, considerably below what they paid for it under Nasser and Donald Petersen. However, analysts said that Ford would have gotten much less or might not have found a buyer if they had tried to sell it later in 2008, as Jaguar Land Rover sales subsequently plummeted due to high oil prices in the summer, causing Tata to request a bailout from the British government.[26] Mulally also sold off Aston Martin and Volvo Cars, and reduced Ford's stake in Mazda.[24]

In 2008, amid mounting losses during an economic downturn, Ford announced a proposal on December 2, 2008, to cut Mulally's salary to $1 per year if government loans were received and used by Ford.[27][28] During hearings for government loans to Ford, he and other industry leaders were criticized for flying to Washington, D.C., in corporate jets. During a subsequent meeting, he traveled from Detroit to Washington by a Ford-built hybrid electric vehicle, while selling all but one of the company's corporate jets.[29]

In 2008, Mulally earned a total compensation of $13,565,378, which included a base salary of $2,000,000, stock awards of $1,849,241, and option awards of $8,669,747. His total compensation decreased by 37.4% compared to 2007.[30]

Due to his achievements at Ford, he was included in the 2009 Time 100 list. The entry, written by Steve Ballmer, says, "[Mulally] understands the fundamentals of business success as well as any business leader I know".[31]

In 2011, Mulally was named Person of the Year by the The Financial Times ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards.[32] He was also named the 2011 CEO of the Year by Chief Executive magazine.[33]

In 2012, Mulally was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Kansas for his notable contributions to engineering and the transportation industry.[34]

On November 1, 2012, Ford announced that Mulally will stay with the company at least through 2014.[35] It was reported in September 2013 that Mulally may step down earlier than 2014 as he explores other roles. The board would reportedly be sympathetic to this move.[36]

On July 1, 2014, Mullaly resigned as CEO from Ford. He joined Google's Board on July 9, 2014.[37]

Management style

Everybody says you can't make money off small cars. Well, you'd better damn well figure out how to make money because that's where the world is going.

Alan Mulally, 2008[15]
Mulally negotiated four new agreements with United Auto Workers, which has brought down labor costs from $76/hour to $55/hour.[15]

He lives within three miles of his office at Ford's global headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. He has a meeting with Ford's executives, called a "Business Plan Review" (BPR) every Thursday at 7 a.m. in the "Thunderbird Room" at Ford's headquarters.[15] At a "town meeting" of 100 information technology staffers in February 2007, Mulally said, "We have been going out of business for 40 years", and has repeated his message to other employee groups.[38]


McKinsey & Company asked Mulally how he maintained his mental and physical stamina, to which he responded: "Everybody always talks about how you need to manage your time. You need to manage your energy as well. You first have to ask, 'What gives me energy?' There can be lots of sources: your family, exercise, your spiritual well-being... In our house, we had a family meeting every week—the family BPR ["Business Plan Review"]—where we reviewed what we needed to do and the support required to get us through the week. It is another kind of process step, and a really important one."[39]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Obituaries: Lauraine Lizette Clark Mulally 1920 - 2010". Lawrence Journal-World. 2010-08-14. Archived from the original on 1 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  2. ^ "Alan R. Mulally profile". Forbes. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-16. 
  3. ^ Schepp, David (2010-10-25). "Ford May See Record Third-Quarter Earnings". Daily Finance. Archived from the original on 28 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  4. ^ Alan Mulally-Charlie Rose Interview Retrieved 29 July 2011
  5. ^ "Alan Mulally joins Google's board of directors". Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  6. ^ a b Mecham, Michael; Velocci, Anthony L., Jr. (2006-12-31). "Alan R. Mulally is AW&ST's Person of the Year". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  7. ^ "Resume:Alan Mulally". Bloomberg Businessweek. 2001-07-01. Retrieved 2006-09-06. 
  8. ^ Tu, Janet I. (2006-06-07). "The Rev. Dale Turner dies: "a very gentle guiding hand"". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  9. ^ "Ford's New Top Gun". Bloomberg Businessweek. 2006-09-18. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  10. ^ "The MIT 150: 150 Ideas, Inventions, and Innovators that Helped Shape Our World". The Boston Globe. May 15, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c "Executive Biographies: Alan Mulally". Boeing. May 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2006-09-05. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Ford Company's Alan Mulally Biography Retrieved 29 July 2011
  14. ^ Dominic Gates (March 8, 2005). "With Stonecipher ouster, Boeing faces CEO dilemma". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2006-09-05. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Kiley, David (2009-05-11). "The New Heat On Ford". Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  16. ^ "Ford names new CEO". CNN Money. September 5, 2006. Archived from the original on 24 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-05. 
  17. ^ What your CEO drives says a lot, USA Today, December 12, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-12-05.
  18. ^ New Ford CEO admits to driving a Lexus LS430, Motor Authority. Retrieved on 2008-12-05.
  19. ^ Ford execs compare Taurus to Homer Simpson, MSNBC, January 29, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-12-04.
  20. ^ Wilson, Amy (2006-10-30). "Way Forward, version 3, is on the way". AutoWeek. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  21. ^ Krisher, Tom (2007-08-22). "Ford CEO Mulally Faces New Challenges". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  22. ^ Ford Family's Cash Faucet Goes Dry Suspension of Dividend Cuts Off a Strong Annuity For Auto Maker's Founders, Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2006. Retrieved on 2008-12-04.
  23. ^ Vlasic, Bill (April 8, 2009). "Choosing Its Own Path, Ford Stayed Independent". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  24. ^ a b Flint, Jerry (2008-12-16). "Ford Focus". Forbes. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  25. ^ "Ford distances itself from bailout proposal". Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  26. ^ Mulally: Ford has no regrets on selling Jaguar, Land Rover, EGM Cartech, October 7, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-12-04.
  27. ^ Isidore, Chris (2008-12-02). "Big Three want more money in bailout". Money. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-05. 
  28. ^ Sly, Randy (2008-12-03). "Ford CEO Makes $1 Salary Promise". Catholic Online. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  29. ^ Ford's PR campaign: CEO Alan Mulally drives to hearings (no corporate jet), promises $1 salary, New York Daily News, December 2, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-12-04.
  30. ^ "Alan Mulally's Compensation in 2008". The Globe Opinion. Archived from the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  31. ^ Ballmer, Steve (2009-04-30). tml "The 2009 Time 100: Alan Mulally". Time. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  32. ^ Alan Mulally: in the driving seat at Ford, John Reed, The Financial Times, March 17, 2011
  33. ^ Donlon, J.P. (July–August 2011). "The Road Ahead". Chief Executive (253): 31–33. ISSN 0160-4724. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Ford's Mulally Stays Through 2014, Fields Is COO". The New York Times. 
  36. ^ Deepa Seetharaman and Bernie Woodall (5 September 2013). "Ford board open to earlier exit for CEO Mulally". Reuters. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ Kiley, David (2007-06-04). "The New Heat On Ford". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  39. ^

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
William Clay Ford, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company
2006 — 2014
Succeeded by
Mark Fields