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Our 2010 CEO of the Year Drives Success

Mulally's achievements position Ford to thrive in a very hard industry.

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Alan Mulally of  Ford Motor Company (F) is the Morningstar 2010 CEO of the Year for good reason. Auto manufacturing is a tough industry in which few participants are able to garner long-term competitive advantages. It is a viciously cyclical business with high fixed costs and powerful unions to keep happy, and consumers have no reason to keep buying vehicles from the same manufacturer. As such, management prowess, or lack thereof, is more critical among automakers than in industries with stronger business models.

The changes Mulally implemented since joining Ford have radically transformed the company and set it up not just to survive the crisis, but thrive as a highly profitable automaker. Though he's winning our 2010 award, Mulally's achievements actually began several years ago. The first move he made after becoming president and CEO in late 2006 was to convince Wall Street to lend Ford $23.6 billion. This was an all-or-nothing act for Ford since it had no additional access to the credit markets.

David Whiston does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.