Henry Ford II

Inducted 1983

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1969

Resurrected the Ford Motor Company after World War II, leading it to become the second largest producer of motor vehicles in the world

Transformed the Ford Motor Company from a family business to a highly successful, publicly owned corporation in 1956

Henry Ford II preserved his family’s legacy by knowing what he wanted and doggedly pursuing his goals for the company that bore his family name. Henry Ford II was serving in the Navy when his father, Edsel B. Ford, passed away. At that time, company founder Henry Ford had been incapacitated by illness. With World War II military production at a critical stage, the company was losing $10 million a month and President Franklin Roosevelt was considering government intervention in the company. Henry Ford II was recalled from military service to oversee the manufacture of crucial war production and lead a turnaround at Ford Motor Company. Aware of his relative inexperience and awesome responsibility, Ford masterfully sought out some of the industry’s most competent professionals to work with him. He recruited Ernest Breech from General Motors and later assembled a team of “Whiz Kids” to reorganize the company and introduce the statistical control methods that were instrumental in the company’s turnaround. Henry Ford II served as President of the company from 1945 until 1960, when he became Chairman and CEO. He retired in 1979 after a career at Ford during which his personal, strong leadership was responsible for the development of one of the world’s largest, most successful corporations.

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Class of 1983

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