Ford family members, heavily invested in Ford Motor Co., were prodding Chairman Bill Ford Jr. to seek help from an outsider last year even as he was wooing now-CEO Alan Mulally away from Boeing, according to a report today by Portfolio, a new Conde Nast business publication.
In a lengthy article headlined "Driven to the Brink" in Portfolio's debut issue, writer Betsy Morris chronicles the Ford scion's challenges as chief executive of the crisis-ridden automaker founded by his great-grandfather Henry Ford. Among her reports:
Following the company's $5.5 billion loss in 2001, Ford Jr. conceded, privately at least, that he needed help establishing priorities and a long-term strategy for Ford Motor, which had heavily banked on demand for gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. Over the next couple of years he reached out to Dieter Zetsche, now head of DaimlerChrysler AG, and Carlos Ghosn, chief of Renault and Nissan. Both men turned down a COO berth at Ford.