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New Leadership at Ford

Dearborn, Mich., Sept. 11, 1999 - Creating a new leadership structure, Ford Motor Co. named William Clay Ford Jr. chairman and Jacques Nasser president and chief executive, effective Jan. 1, 1999.

Alexander Trotman, the automobile maker's chairman, president, and chief, sped up his retirement date by a year.


Old and new Leadership :
William Clay Ford jr., Alexander Trotman,
Jacques Nasser

The board had elected to separate the position of chairman from that of chief executive. The chairman will lead the board of directors, while the chief executive will lead the company. Mr. Nasser will replace Mr. Trotman as a director on the 11-member board.

Mr. Trotman, 65, said Friday that he offered to retire early because the company had made more progress than expected on cost-cutting and global business plans.

Much of the credit for that progress goes to Mr. Nasser, a 50-year-old Lebanese-born Australian who is president of Ford's $123 billion global automotive business. His ascension to the top of the company's management has been anticipated amid growing acclaim for the way he has jump-started profits and wrung billions from costs over the last year.


Despite 30 years with Ford, Mr. Nasser has earned the reputation of a maverick within the company. The appointment places him in close quarters with a descendant of the company's famous founder.

Regarding the appointments, Mr. Trotman said Friday, "Jacques is already running the largest part of the company and, with Bill as chairman of the board, we have tremendous strength and continuity as we move forward."

The scenario, which combines the high-profile outsider with a family scion, has been widely discussed, along with the possibility that Mr. Nasser might be named to take over Mr. Trotman's position completely.

Mr. Ford, 40, is the great-grandson of Henry Ford, who founded the company in 1903. He currently heads the company's powerful finance committee, and is vice chairman for the Detroit Lions National Football League franchise. He is the first family member to run the company since Henry Ford II, who was chairman from 1945-1980.

Henry Ford ran the company from 1908-18 and Edsel Ford ran it from 1918-1943. The Ford family controls 40 percent of the company's voting shares.

In April Mr. Ford's cousin, Edsel B. Ford, 49, stepped down as president of Ford Motor's credit unit to devote more time to community and charitable activities. He remained as a director of the company.


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