With the advent of Tesla and the horde of nascent electric vehicle makers making waves in recent years, long-standing auto companies got a new descriptor: legacy automakers. The automotive world got a reminder today why that characterization fits Ford Motor Co. better than most.
The company founded by Henry Ford announced the nominations of two of Ford’s great-great grandchildren for the company’s board of directors: Alexandra Ford English and Henry Ford III. They are the children of current Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Edsel B. Ford II, who held a variety of roles with the company before taking ownership of Pentastar Aviation 2001.
Their nominations, which are virtually assured to be approved at the annual meeting in May, ensures members of the Ford family will continue their involvement the company at the highest level. Ford family members have held posts on the board for more than a century.
More than a century of family involvement
“Henry and Alexandra are both passionate and capable young business leaders who care deeply about Ford Motor Company and the welfare of our customers, employees, dealers and shareholders,” Bill Ford said.
“I am pleased and proud that we have a new generation of Ford family leaders who believe in serving the company and ensuring it remains a successful and positive force in the world for years to come.”
However, some of that 118 years of stewardship will be lost as the aforementioned Edsel Ford has elected to retire from the board. He got his first job at the company in 1974 and served on the board for three decades.
Next generation getting involved
Ford English, 33, recently accepted another board position that elevated her profile. She took on the role as Ford Motor Co.’s representative to the Rivian board of directors. Ford Motor owns an equity stake in the EV maker.
She joined her namesake company in 2017 after running merchandising divisions for Tory Burch in New York City and Gap Inc. in San Francisco. She is currently a director in Corporate Strategy at the company, responsible for enterprise, connectivity and digital network strategic plans.
Before that, she was director of Market and Operations for Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC and responsible for the successful deployment and operations of Ford’s autonomous vehicle business in Miami; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C.
Henry Ford III, 40, is currently a director in Ford Investor Relations. The son of Edsel B. Ford II, he joined the company in 2006, holding roles in Labor Relations, Purchasing, Marketing and Sales, and Corporate Strategy. He was part of the team that negotiated the 2008 master labor agreement with the UAW.
Later, as global marketing manager for Ford Performance, Henry Ford III played a key role in the launch of the latest Ford GT and supported the company’s successful return to racing at the 24 Hours of LeMans.