Henry Ford III stepping down from job at automaker after 15 years
Henry Ford III, the great-great grandson of industrial magnate Henry Ford, is telling colleagues that he's leaving his investor relations job at Ford Motor Co.
He is telling colleagues that he wants to "broaden my perspective outside the company" to be a more effective member of Ford's board of directors, Automotive News first reported on Tuesday.
Ford wrote in his email, which the company confirmed to the Free Press:
"After 15 years inside Ford, I believe that new external viewpoints will help me guide and support our great company with improved objectivity and an increased ability to constructively critique our strengths and weaknesses.
"I have seen the magic that happens when we work together to deliver the products and services that our customers love. Ford is in a position of great strength as we look toward the future, and I am eager to contribute and provide support from the board as you all execute on the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation, and build a highly successful company for all stakeholders."
A company spokesman confirmed that Ford is stepping down effective July 1.
“Like Henry himself, his decision is highly respected by his Ford colleagues," Ford spokesman Ian Thibodeau told the Free Press. "Henry had been contemplating this. It’s not a surprise."
The company has not named an investor relations replacement at this time, Thibodeau said. "We'll defer to Henry about what and when he elects to say about his plans."
Ford, who is known as Sonny within the family, was elected to the board in May at the age of 40. He is now 41.
Now that Ford will no longer be an employee, his board of director status changes and he now will be compensated for his work on the board as other non-employee directors are, Thibodeau said. Ford employees who are on the board have not been compensated.
As of January 2017, the annual board membership compensation was $315,000, a majority of which is paid in restricted stock, along with certain other considerations as described in the company’s proxy statement, Thibodeau noted.
Key to UAW talks
The son of Edsel B. Ford II joined the company in 2006 and worked in labor relations, purchasing, marketing and sales and corporate strategy.
The company credited Henry Ford III in its news release for being part of the team that negotiated the landmark 2008 labor agreement with the UAW. UAW leadership has also acknowledged Ford's work at the start of his career.
He has worked as a global marketing manager for Ford Performance and "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 Le Mans," the company said previously.
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Henry Ford III earned a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management. Executive Chairman Bill Ford also earned a graduate degree from MIT.
Alexandra Ford English, daughter of Bill Ford, was elected to the board at age 33 with Henry Ford III. She is the first female member of the Ford family to serve on the board. She joined Ford in 2017 and works as director of corporate strategy and is responsible for enterprise, connectivity and digital network strategic plans, the company said.
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