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Old 09-22-2005, 05:56   #1 (permalink)
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US:Bill Ford plans to stay CEO, at least for now

Bill Ford plans to stay CEO, at least for now

BY SARAH A. WEBSTER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Does Bill Ford still want to be CEO of Ford Motor Co.?

On Wednesday, he answered that burning question, but he didn't seem to put it completely to rest.

The question has been hanging over Ford headquarters after recent developments:

In August, when he became chairman of the Detroit Economic Club, Ford joked how he had tried to hire Chrysler Group CEO Dieter Zetsche and how he needed another job "like I need a hole in the head."

A month later, Bloomberg News reported that Carlos Ghosn, the turnaround expert who now heads Nissan Motor Co.'s owner Renault SA, also turned Ford down for a high-level executive post. For the second time in three years.

The report came about the same time as a management shuffle at Ford that will put Mark Fields, who is executive vice president of Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group, in charge of the automaker's troubled North American operations Oct. 1.

So it was only natural that people started wondering about Ford's commitment to his CEO post, which he added to his chairmanship in 2001.

On Wednesday, clutching a bottle of Evian and pacing back and forth on a stage in front of journalists, Ford said he's not a reluctant CEO -- "I'm not reluctant at all" -- but he also said he's not sure how long he'll remain in the post. "I have no idea," he said. He also expressed a desire to spend more time with his family.

"I'm going to remain with this company anyway," Ford said. "I love this place. And if there's somebody better to be CEO, fine. Because I'm not leaving. ...

"But I'm not anticipating that. I'm not planning that. And so, you know, I guess I'm a little less worked up about it than some people who ask me that, frankly, a lot: How long you going to do this? How long you going to do this? I don't know.

"Part of it's going to be how the board and I feel like things are going. Part of it's going to be who else is available. Part of it's going to be if I'm exhausted and can't do any more. There are a lot of things that play into this. Right now, I'm very energized by what we've got going.

"I know the next couple of years for our entire industry are going to be tough. That's OK. We've got the plan and the people to pull it off."
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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