Ford Tumbles Amid Weaker 2014 Guidance, Mulally Rumors
Shares of Ford Motor (NYSE: F) were trading lower by more than 9 percent on Wednesday after the company updated its full-year 2013 and 2014 guidance earlier in the day.
Investors also digested new information concerning Alan Mulally and his plans for the coming year.
2013 was “one of the best” years in history; 2014 not shaping up to look as great
Ford noted that 2013 is expected to be one of the best full-year results in its history with total company pre-tax profit of about $8.5 billion. The company gained market shares in all regions other than Europe with record market shares in Africa, Asia-Pacific and most importantly, China.
2014 is expected to be a “solid year” for Ford as the company will launch 23 all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles around the world.
“This is out most ambitious launch plan ever, as we continue to implement our One Ford plan,” said Bob Shanks, the company's executive vice president and chief financial officer. “In 2014, we are investing across the world to support next year's launches, but also to drive profitable growth beyond 2014 as we serve more customers in more market sand in more segments,” he added.
While the company's 2014 initiatives have been relatively known and expected for quite some time, the company issued forward guidance that caused shares to downshift to a lower gear.
Ford sees its 2014 North American pre-tax profit abit lower than the $8.5 billion it projects for fiscal 2013, somewhere between $7 billion and $8 billion.
Alan Mulally expected to remain at Ford?
The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft is unlikely to name a replacement CEO until next year.
Ford's current CEO Alan Mulally has been considered to be the front-runner and a shoe-in for the job.
John Thompson, Microsoft's director leading the search, noted in a blog post that, “We're moving ahead well, and I expect we'll complete our work in the early part of 2014.”
According to Ford's Shanks, Microsoft could scratch Mulally's name off the candidacy list, based on comments he made during Ford's conference call. Shanks said that he believes Mulally will remain as CEO at Ford in 2014.
Analysts at Nomura are now “less confident” that Mulally will book himself a one-way ticket from Detroit to his native Washington State and Microsoft headquarters. Their view is based on the tone that was used in Microsoft's blog post. According Nomura's Rick Sherlund, Microsoft “may be looking for a CEO with more of a technical background, making it less likely Ford CEO Alan Mulally will join Microsoft.”
Sherlund sees VMWare CEO, Pat Gelsinger as a “great candidate."
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