Boeing cost-cutter replaces Bill Ford at Ford Motor Co

Mumbai: Boeing executive Alan Mulally will replace Ford Motor Co chief executive Bill Ford, great-grandson of the struggling automaker's founder.

Ford, 49, who became CEO in 2001, has been unable to stem a decade-long slide in the US market share at the world's second-largest automaker.

Mulally, 61, led Boeing's defence unit for two years before becoming head of commercial aircraft in 1998. At Boeing, he trimmed more than 30,000 jobs to make commercial airplanes profitable even as demand slumped.

Mulally was superseded for Boeing's top job in July 2005.

Ford Motor's decision to turn the company over to an outsider reflects the magnitude of the task, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research.

Bill Ford acknowledged as much in an e-mail to employees on 1 September, when he said the way Ford has traditionally done business ''is no longer sufficient to sustain profitability."

Ford reported a $3.49 billion profit for 2004. Net income slid to $2 billion last year. The profit came mostly from its car and truck loans business.

Ford said in January it would cut 30,000 jobs and close 14 plants in North America by 2012.