Blog: Dave LeggettNasser and PAG

Dave Leggett | 29 August 2006

With respect to the situation at Ford and its troubled PAG division one of the more eye-catching straws in the wind appeared to surface late last week. It was reported that ex-Ford CEO Jacques Nasser – now involved with a private equity firm – could be leading a bid for PAG assets.

It’s an intriguing thought.

Nasser was unceremoniously dumped by Ford when profits dived in 2001. It had been a spectacular rise and fall for a guy who had tried to reinvent Ford as something more than a car company. It had been a vision of a modern, multi-faceted company at the forefront of the new Internet economy providing a range of automotive products and services. Nasser rocked the boat in Dearborn, but to many it seemed a compelling vision.

But the Nasser strategy was arguably undone by events outside of his control - most notably the dotcom crash (Nasser was a big fan of the Internet and was behind substantial investments in e-business initiatives) and the hugely expensive Firestone tyres/Explorer recall debacle.

Oh, and he made a few enemies along the way (like influential US dealers upset by his plans to buy-up the more profitable dealerships).

The Ford family took firm control of the company reins on the back of a depressed share price, dealer dissatisfaction and Ford’s drift into financial loss. Nasser was out and gone from the auto industry.

But Nasser had very much been the ‘man with a plan’ in the late 1990s and was behind Ford’s acquisition of Volvo Cars, Land Rover and the subsequent setting up of the PAG division. He also poached Wolfgang Reitzle from BMW to head the whole thing up.

Could Nasser be the man to take some PAG assets off Ford’s hands and make them work? And could he tempt his old pal Reitzle out of German utilities company Linde to help run it? That would be some combination.

US: Former CEO in Ford brand bid


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