Ford Motor Co.’s board of directors got a new, yet familiar look with the election of its two newest members: Alexandra Ford English and Henry Ford III.
The pair, 33 and 40, respectively, are the children of current Chairman Bill Ford and Edsel Ford II, who held a variety of roles with the company before taking ownership of Pentastar Aviation 2001. There has been a member of the Ford family on the board for 118 years.
The great-great grandchildren of the company’s founder Henry Ford join Ford English’s father, Bill, as the only family members on the board currently. Henry Ford III replaced his father, Edsel, on the board.
All in the family
“Few companies have had family involvement for 118 years and our vales, our long-term view and steadfastness throughout the years demonstrates our family’s commitment to safeguarding the company’s future,” said Bill Ford in a statement.
“This is one of the most transformative moments in our company’s history. We welcome Alexandra and Henry’s fresh perspectives.”
The moves came during the company’s annual meeting. During the event, shareholders again voted down a proposal to eliminate the two-tiered stock structure that gives the Ford family more voting power.
The special class of stock was designed to ensure the family retains control of the company. The vote in past years to eliminate it, shifting to a one share-one vote system, hasn’t really ever been close. This year, 64% of shareholders voted against it.
Board composition and newest members
There’s been some focus on board diversity these days. Post-election, Ford’s 14-member board includes four women and two people who identify as minorities. For comparison, General Motors board of directors features seven women as well as two other minorities. GM’s the first automaker with a female majority.
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.