The great-grandson of the company's founder was chief executive from October 2001 but recently has faced investor irritation over what some critics described as inadequate and hesitant initiatives to regain profitability. Ford will remain as executive chairman.
Mulally, 61, has spent 37 years at Boeing, most recently as executive vice president. In addition, he has also been president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes since 2001. In that position he was responsible for all of the company's commercial airplane programs and related services, which in 2005 generated record orders for new business and sales of more than $22.6 billion.
Mulally was named president of Boeing's commercial airplanes business in September 1998. The responsibility of chief executive officer for the business unit was added in March 2001.
Mulally also will join Ford's board.