Ford's Young Gun

Can Mark Fields fire up the automaker's luxury-car sales?

When Mark Fields became president of Mazda in December 1999, he seemed like the kind of American who would try to bulldoze through Japan's porcelain corporate culture--and slink home in frustration. A native New Yorker with a Harvard M.B.A., he appeared slick, headstrong and inexperienced. At 38 he was Mazda's youngest president ever--younger, in fact, than the average employee. He wore sharp suits (and still does). He had a habit of speaking in marketing lingo (which he no longer does). And like most foreigners in Japan, he committed the occasional faux pas. At one of his first dinners out with executives,...

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