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Ford's Hinrichs says GM has not called

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co.'s president for Asia Pacific and Africa Joe Hinrichs said he has not fielded offers from General Motors for its open top executive slot.

GM's recent executive shake up left the chief executive officer job open with the abrupt retirement of Fritz Henderson, who was replaced on an interim basis by Chairman Ed Whitacre Jr.

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GM also moved younger executives up the chain of command, which doesn't rule out Hinrichs, who is 42.

Hinrichs, who used to work at GM, is frequently mentioned as a successor to Ford CEO Alan Mulally, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday. However, with the CEO slot open at GM, "I have not had any inquires from General Motors," Hinrichs told the newspaper. "I'm happy at Ford," he said.

His immediate priority, he said, was to find the right structure for management at Changan Ford Mazda, a three-way partnership in China where Chongqing Changan Automobile owns 50 percent, Ford 35 percent and Mazda Motor Corp. 15 percent.

Last year, Ford reduced its ownership of Mazda from 33 percent to 11 percent.

"Given changes … we're talking among all the partners about what the optimal structure should be for the future," he said.

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