November 5, 2012 / 6:25 PM / 5 years ago

TEXT-S&P: Ford names COO, CEO through 2014, no rating effect

Nov 5 - As Standard & Poor's Ratings Services previously announced, on Nov.
1, 2012, we said that Ford Motor Co.'s (BB+/Positive/--) announcement that
Mark Fields will become chief operating officer (COO) and that CEO Alan Mulally
will remain CEO until at least 2014 has no impact on the rating or outlook. The
position of COO is a new one, but we assume that Ford's primary strategies that
it established and executed over the past few years will continue. We view the
continuity of Mr. Mulally through at least 2014 as important in view of what we
assume is a dim outlook for European auto sales next year. Ford's success in
demonstrating progress in the European turnaround plan announced last week
remains a key facet of a future upgrade to investment grade. Still, it is clear
that Ford's North American operations have been able to significantly offset
very weak conditions in Europe, and we expect North America to generate most of
Ford's profits and cash flow in 2012 and 2013.

We do not expect to raise the corporate credit rating on Ford to investment 
grade before late 2013 at the earliest. The most important factor in an 
upgrade to investment grade would be Ford's ability to improve the balance of 
profitability across regions--particularly Europe, but also in Latin America. 
Accordingly, we would likely want to have a good understanding of 2014 
prospects for profitability by region.

For more information, please see "Bulletin: Ford Motor Co.'s European 
Restructure Announcement Broadly Consistent With Rating And Outlook," 
published Oct. 25, 2012, and "Research Update: Ford Outlook Revised To 
Positive, More Diverse Profitability Needed For An Upgrade; 'BB+' Rating 
Affirmed," published Aug. 10, 2012, both on RatingsDirect.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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