Became the first individual outside the Ford family to serve as President and CEO of Ford Motor Company
Improved labor relations through pioneering efforts in job security and profit sharing
Returned Ford Motor Company to profitability during the 1980s
Philip Caldwell was called the leader of “a quiet revolution” at Ford Motor Company.
When Caldwell was named to serve as Ford Motor Company’s Deputy CEO, the promotion was a surprise to many industry observers. But Caldwell had been making a deep imprint at Ford by quietly and effectively accomplishing every job assignment he was given. Known as a problem-solver, Caldwell even solved Ford’s most difficult financial problems, turning losses into record profits.
Caldwell credited much of his success to years of training as a procurement officer in the Navy. The Navy job required that he develop a plan, then effectively deploy it and communicate it. Caldwell put that formula to work as head of Ford Truck Operations from 1964 to 1969, generating a 73 percent increase in sales that moved Ford to the top of the truck market. Putting his successful leadership into historical perspective, Caldwell told a reporter: “I hope that it would be noted that there’s been the rediscovery of the importance of the individual. There’s certainly nothing more important than the respect of the human being, and really having dignity in the workplace.”