After nearly eight years with CEO Alan Mulally behind the wheel, Ford is ready to shift leaders and move Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields into the top job at the country's second-largest automaker.
Sources told CNBC on Monday that Ford will soon announce Fields as the next CEO of Ford, though an exact date for the announcement has not yet been set.
Ford spokesperson Susan Krusel would not comment on the reports of Mulally's impending departure.
"There is no change from our previous announcements and we do not comment on speculation. We take succession planning very seriously, and we have succession plans in place for each of our key leadership positions. For competitive reasons, we do not discuss our succession plans externally," Krusel said.
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Last September, rumors surfaced that Mulally had become the front-runner to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft. Mulally downplayed the reports, saying he is committed to his job. Fields, 53, has served as Ford's chief operating officer since late 2012 and has gradually taken over more day-to-day leadership responsibilities from Mulally.
Fields was highly visible in New York as the automaker unveiled a 50th anniversary edition of the Mustang. The highlight was a reception at the Empire State Building, where the Mustang was displayed on the observation deck.
"I now take over some of the [business plan review] meetings and the running of the daily operations of the company, but we are all working as one team and staying very focused on this record number of launches, growing the business both here and in international markets," Fields said last week at the New York Auto Show.
Meanwhile, Mulally is in China at the Beijing Auto Show, where Ford continues to grow sales. Under his leadership, Ford has become the fourth-largest automaker in China and is expecting to see annual vehicle sales top 1 million in 2014.
When Mulally took the Ford job in 2006, the company sold fewer than 50,000 vehicles a year in the country.
Mulally is also credited with forcing Ford to shed money-losing brands while growing the core Ford brand. His vision of "One Ford" centered around the automaker cutting costs and driving up profitability by using fewer platforms to build vehicles around the world.
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Once Mulally leaves Ford, sources said he will consider a number of possibilities, including running another company. They said, however, that he will be selective and, only take another CEO job if it is the right fit.
Ford shares ended Monday slightly lower.
—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau.