`Crown Prince' Billy in Gear for Top Ford Job
Reeves, Phil, The Independent (London, England)
"THERE are no crown princes," said Henry Ford II when asked whether another family member would ever occupy the throne of America's most powerful industrial dynasty. Some years on, that can no longer be said to be true.
The US car manufacturing industry was yesterday abuzz with speculation over whether William Clay Ford Jr, a boyish 37-year-old better known as "Billy", is being groomed as eventual successor to the top job at Ford Motor Company.
Mr Ford, great-grandson of the company's founder, became the focus of debate when the corporation announced on Thursday that he has been appointed chairman of its powerful finance committee. The promotion sparked a flurry of suggestions that the young man is being positioned to take over from Ford's chairman and chief executive, Alex Trotman, who retires at the end of the decade.
His new job, currently occupied by his 69-year-old father, who will retire, is considered one of the corporation's top three positions. The finance committee approves all the car maker's big financial and strategic decisions; its chairman therefore oversees the purse strings.
It is 15 years since a Ford headed the firm. Henry II - William Jr's uncle and grandson of the first Henry Ford (of Model T fame) - was a flamboyant jet-setter and favourite of the gossip columns. But when he left office in 1979, he had dramatically revived the company's fortunes after a period of decline.
In recent years, the Ford family has occasionally clashed with Ford's professional managers over its degree of control. But its influence remains great, not least because it controls 40 per cent of the stock.
Industry analysts say the elevation of …
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Publication information: Article title: `Crown Prince' Billy in Gear for Top Ford Job. Contributors: Reeves, Phil - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: September 11, 1994. Page number: Not available. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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