USA: Ford Senior to retire from Ford Motor Co. board

By just-auto.com editorial team | 10 March 2005

William Clay Ford Senior - the only surviving grandson of Henry Ford - is retiring from Ford Motor Co.'s board of directors after serving for more than half a century, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Ford Sr., who will turn 80 on Monday, reportedly plans to leave the board in May and will become a director emeritus at the board's request.

Ford Sr. isn't suffering from any illness and will continue to play an active role with the company, spokesman Oscar Suris told AP.

The Associated Press noted that, as a board member, Ford Sr. helped bring the company back under his family's control in 2001, when the board ousted former CEO Jacques Nasser in favour of Ford Sr.'s son, William Clay Ford Jr., the company's current chairman and CEO. Ford Sr.'s brother, Henry Ford II, was Ford's CEO from 1945 until 1979.

"My dad helped lead Ford into the modern era and make us who we are," Ford Jr. said in a statement cited by the news agency. "This is obviously a bittersweet moment for me and everyone who loves Ford Motor Company."

AP said Ford Sr. is the youngest son of Henry Ford's son, Edsel, and his wife Eleanor, and served in a variety of executive positions before being named vice president of the Continental Division in 1954. He assumed responsibility for corporate product planning and design in 1956 and became vice president of product design in 1973.

He oversaw the design of several of the company's classic vehicles, including the Continental Mark II and served as chairman of the company's design committee until he retired from Ford in 1989, the report added.