Lincoln Needs New CEO Mark Fields to Ensure its Survival
When Alan Mulally took over at Ford more than eight years ago, he was tasked with turning around a brand that had fallen on hard times and was in desperate need of a comeback. When he left his position as company CEO on July 1, he had achieved a nearly miraculous turnaround that led to Ford being arguably the globe’s most recognized brand. As Mark Fields takes the reigns, he faces a similarly formidable task: take the Lincoln Motor Company and rebuild it into a brand that luxury shoppers turn to first.
“Our team is so enthused about Mark becoming CEO,” Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln, told Bloomberg in an interview. “Mark really understands and has instilled in all of us the strategic importance of the luxury business. It’s a small part of industry sales relatively, 8 percent and growing, but the contribution to the overall bottom line is a much higher percentage.”
That enthusiasm is quite justified: sources told Bloomberg that Mulally was extremely close to killing Lincoln once and for all in 2013, but Fields’ objected and ostensibly saved the brand like a governor issuing a last-second death row pardon. Now the task of building on the early success of the MKC and the excitement surrounding the brand’s foray into China falls to Fields. Whether he can justify the brand’s stay of execution remains to be seen.
Plans are in place for further expansion of Lincoln’s model lineup, and the MKC has been a solid step in a newer and more exciting direction. In order to be a real contributor to Ford’s future success, Lincoln can no longer settle with hitting for average. They’ll need home runs, and plenty of ‘em. Mark Fields is in the batter’s box, and it’s a good bet that he’ll be swinging for the fences.