Washington — Former Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally declined to rule out a possible run for president, but said he’s undecided on his next step, despite receiving significant interest among possible future employers.
Asked at a forum in Indianapolis by an ABC News reporter if he would consider running for president, Mulally, 68, — who is also a former long-time Boeing Co. executive — didn’t directly answer.
“It’s really nice to see you,” Mulally said in response before pausing. “I really think it’s important that we all pull together. We really need to pull together around a compelling vision for our country and a comprehensive strategy to do it and work together. We really need to do it,” Mulally said to applause at a radio industry conference, according to a video of the event posted late Friday on ABC’s website.
It’s one of Mulally’s highest profile events since stepping down at Ford after joining the company in 2006. Mulally’s Ford email address no longer works and The Detroit News was unable to reach Mulally on Sunday.
It’s not clear if Mulally is actually considering a run for president or simply adopting his long-time practice of not answering questions about his future as he did during his tenure at Ford. “I’m really thinking that out,” Mulally said when asked what he will do next. “I love serving.”
Over the last few years, Mulally repeatedly wouldn’t comment about speculation on when he would step down at Ford, if he was in the running to become CEO of Microsoft and wouldn’t comment about his prospects for joining the Obama administration as Veterans Administration chief.
Since leaving Ford July 1, Mulally has joined Google’s board of directors, but hasn’t announced any other commitments. He and his wife have recently moved back to the Seattle area from Dearborn.
Mulally’s received numerous other invitations to join other corporate boards, colleagues say. “I’m amazed at the number of people and organizations that are looking for help,” Mulally said Thursday “I’m not in a real hurry.” He said he doesn’t have a “definitive answer” about his next step.
Mulally had strong relationships with members of Congress and the Obama administration. He got a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama after announcing he would step down at Ford earlier this year. Mulally rebuffed entreaties from the White House to see if he was interested in being considered for administration jobs, including to head the Veterans Administration. In June, Mulally declined to say if he had been approached for the VA job. Obama tapped another business leader in late June, former Proctor & Gamble executive Robert McDonald, to run the cabinet agency.
Mulally has never disclosed his party affiliation. He’s donated to members of both parties including Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph., Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit and Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak.
He made a $2,000 donation to President George W. Bush’s campaign in 2003 while at Boeing along with a $1,000 donation to the Republican Party, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.