As executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, William Clay Ford, Jr., son of William Clay Ford and a great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, is leading the company that put the world on wheels into the 21st century.
As CEO, Mr. Ford focused on improving quality, lowering costs and delivering exciting new products to customers.
Beginning as a product planning analyst in 1979, Bill Ford went on to hold many different positions in manufacturing, sales, marketing, product development and finance, exposing him to the broad range of issues involved in the automotive business. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Bill Ford held a long list of leadership positions in the company, including chairman and managing director of Ford Switzerland, general manager of the climate control division, company vice president and chairman of various committees of the board of directors.
These positions eventually culminated in his election as chairman of the board of directors in 1998. By then he had gained a deep and wide understanding of the company and the industry and had begun to form his vision for a company that not only produces great automotive products but also operates in a way that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable over time.
A lifelong environmentalist, Mr. Ford is committed to increasing shareholder value by developing products that please customers and benefit society. In 2000, under his leadership, Ford Motor Company published its first corporate citizenship report, a rigorous analysis of the economic, environmental and social impact of company products and operations around the world. His emphasis on a concern for the broader world that the company touches is central to his vision for the company.
In January 2002, Bill Ford and his leadership team launched a major revitalization plan with three key elements—a strong focus on products, an emphasis on cost reductions and a commitment to right-sizing the business. The plan focused on getting back to the basics and executing on the fundamentals of the business.
A different revitalization was under way at Ford's historic Rouge complex. In 2000, led by Bill Ford, the company embarked on a $2 billion project to transform a 20th-century icon into a 21st-century manufacturing model. The revitalized complex, called the Ford Rouge Center, features lean, flexible and sustainable manufacturing processes, while honoring the site's past and enhancing the environment.
Mr. Ford’s charitable, volunteer and business efforts are highlighted by his commitment to the city of Detroit. As vice chairman of the Detroit Lions professional football team, Mr. Ford led efforts to build a new, environmentally friendly stadium in Detroit that was the site of Super Bowl XL. Through Detroit Lions Charities, he helped develop the Detroit Police Athletic League youth football program into one of the largest in the country. Mr. Ford also is chairman of the Detroit Economic Club, chairman of the board of trustees of The Henry Ford, chairman of the executive committee of Detroit Renaissance and a member of the board of directors of eBay Inc.