Ford Shake-Up ... Will It Help?

The Mulally "re-mix" is starting to play out at Ford , and the new CEO isn't waiting long to send a message. The question is how much this management shake up will go in reviving ford.

Long-time Ford employee Derrick Kuzak has been put in charge of global vehicle development after previously serving as Ford's VP of product development. The new job means Kuzak is the man who will integrate Ford's vehicle platforms around the world and play an influential role in deciding what models vehicles Ford will develop. Some would call Kuzak Ford's new car czar, reporting directly to Mulally.

So why should investors care about this management shake-up? First, it's the first sign Mulally is "flattening" Ford's hierarchy while trying to streamline global operations. Making this move less than two months into the job shows Ford's new CEO is moving fairly quickly to remake the struggling automaker. Second, Kulak's elevation, along with other management moves shows Mulally is lining up the decision makers who will determine if Ford can come back.

There's no way of knowing if Kuzak will succeed as Bob Lutz has in a similar role at GM . Kuzak clearly has newfound capital and clout within the company to have Ford pursue certain vehicles in the future. After 6 years of steadily losing market share, Ford needs hits. It won't happen overnight. But this is a small yet important step in Mulally trying to set up Ford for better days.

Questions? Comments?