Ford Motor Co.'s top executives are assigning considerable importance to devising succession plans for the auto maker's key executives.

“We spent six hours today working on succession planning together,” President and CEO Alan Mulally tells reporters in Dearborn, MI, at an event marking his first year in office. “We went through all the talent inside Ford and looked at talent outside Ford.”

It's not just Mulally's post that is being evaluated but all of Ford's gloal operations.

“In every (executive job) position, we didn't try to have one plan but to identify all the talent, so we could go multiple ways,” he says.

Mulally adds that infighting is not tolerated. “You kind of have to leave your ego at the door.”

In the past, leadership succession within Ford has been a tumultuous affair. Such was the case when former CEO Jacques Nasser was unceremoniously ousted in 2001, clearing the way for Bill Ford Jr. to take the helm.

Succession planning is one example of Mulally's hands-on leadership style. The key to Ford's turnaround is a clear plan based on keeping things simple, as was evidenced when he streamlined the executive ranks upon arriving in 2006.

Under Mulally, Ford's corporate alignment was reworked to include three automotive business leaders: Mark Fields, president-The Americas; Lewis Booth, Ford of Europe and the Premier Automotive Group; and John Parker, Ford of Asia/Pacific and Africa, and Mazda Motor Corp.