Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally reiterated the company’s plan that he continue leading the No. 2 U.S. automaker through at least 2014.
“We’ve said at least through 2014, but I always listen to my chairman,” Mulally, 67, said Thursday after the company’s annual meeting in Wilmington, Del.
Executive Chairman Bill Ford joked with reporters: “I thought it was 2020? Or wasn’t it 2025? He’s got a long run.”
Mulally led Ford back to profitability without the federal bailouts and bankruptcies that befell the predecessors of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009.
Ford has earned $35.2 billion the past four years after losing $30.1 billion from 2006 through 2008 as Mulally has pushed to add more competitive cars to the company’s lineup to complement its pickups and utility vehicles.
Ford last year promoted Mark Fields, 52, to chief operating officer, making him the front-runner to replace Mulally. Bill Ford, 56, said last year he would be surprised if the next CEO of the automaker founded by his great-grandfather came from outside the company.
At the meeting, shareholders again rejected a proposal to dilute the Ford family’s control over the company.
Ford said 67 percent of shareholders voted against the proposal to make each Ford share worth one vote.
Thirty-three percent supported it. That was slightly less support than the same measure received last year.
The Ford family has 40 percent of the voting power in the company through 71 million Class B shares, which carry more votes than Class A shares. Some shareholder activists say the dual-share system is unfair.
Ford shareholders were clearly pleased with the company’s performance. Ninety-three percent voted to approve Ford’s executive compensation levels for 2012, including Mulally’s $20.95 million pay package.