Blog: Dave LeggettMark Fields and the company 'plane

Dave Leggett | 19 January 2007

Ther are two points I want to make about Ford's Mark Fields and the use of a Ford jet for jaunts back home to Florida at the weekends.

First, there's something just a little unedifying about people taking self-righteous pot shots at him on a matter that overlaps with his private life when we are not in full possession of the facts.

What do we know about his private circumstances? What if, say, a family member really needs his support and moving the family to Detroit is a bad option - for whatever reason (his family have moved around with his job quite a bit in the past)? It may be a tad unfair to paint this simplistically as him being a selfish good-time rocker who puts his day job a distant second while other Ford employees are making sacrifices. At his level he's working weekends anyway.

We just don't know all the facts, but anyway, if he negotiated use of the aircraft as part of his package when he was promoted, well, that's the level he's playing at. Is his package/perks way out of line with those of his peers? I doubt it. 

Better to judge him on what he eventually achieves.

But secondly, and having said all of that, he/FMC has to take some responsibility for not handling the issue at all well from a PR perspective. There are ways of nipping these things in the bud, creating the right impression, maybe making sure that there are compensatory 'goods' to outweigh any perceived 'bads' so that ultimately, the investigative reporters don't focus in on him and on such a narrow topic in the first place.

Stonewalling the reporters is not the best way to react, either. He may think 'none of your business' (and I can see how anyone might think that) but if you are a public figure like he is, with Ford where it is, a story like this quickly becomes 'public interest' and develops a life of its own. Better to have something smart to say when the reporter first comes knocking.  

I have the impression that plenty of people want to have a pop at Mark Fields. And why is that, I wonder? 

US: Ford private plane perk ends


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