Ford Motor Company has announced that Mark Fields will become the company’s next CEO replacing Alan Mulally.
Fields, whose original family name was changed from Finkelman a generation ago, has been serving as the COO of the car manufacturer since November of 2012. Fields had previously worked for Ford as head of their operations in Argentina and was placed by Ford to run the Mazda Motor Corporation in 1998, becoming the youngest person in charge of a major Japanese company.
Following his run as the head of the Premier Automotive Group, whose products include Land Rover, Volvo, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Lincoln, Fields returned to the United States and became the head of the Americas division at Ford Motor Company during a restructuring period.
Founded in 1903 by Henry Ford, the Ford Motor Company has never had a Jewish CEO before. Ford was a pronounced anti-Semite whose dealings with the Nazis during World War II are well known.
Beginning with the rise of Henry Ford II, the founder’s grandson, the company began a noteworthy shift towards hiring minorities in the 1940s. It was not until 1977, under the helm of Benson Ford, the founder’s great-grandson, that a Jewish officer, vice-president Mervyn Manning, was announced at the car manufacturer.
Fields received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers University and then worked for IBM prior to earning his Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University. He is married and has two sons. The family maintains two homes in Dearborn, MI. and Delray Beach, FL.
Fields does not maintain a membership in a local Detroit area synagogue or temple. He is the descendant of Russian and Romanian Jews and became a bar mitzvah at a Conservative synagogue in Paramus, NJ.
No matter where he was stationed throughout his career, Fields has stated, his parents would always send him matzah for Passover and holiday candles for Chanukah.
Fields will take over for Mullaly when his contract ends and he steps down later this year.