By Matt Wolfe
Leading one of the greatest turnarounds in American business history
As President and CEO of Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally successfully guided Ford through the U.S. financial crisis and relentlessly implemented a comprehensive strategy for the company’s turnaround. Mulally’s strategy, called “One Ford”, brought the company together under a compelling vision and restored Ford’s status as one of the world’s leading automakers.
Raised and educated in Kansas, Mulally was a big-picture thinker at a young age. He was so inspired after watching President John F. Kennedy’s “we choose to go to the moon” speech, he jumped up and said “I’m ready.” Mulally graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, as well as a Master of Science. He joined Boeing in 1969 and led numerous important projects including the development of the Boeing 777, the first airplane entirely designed using CAD software. Mulally would become President and CEO of Boeing in 2001 before being named President and CEO of Ford in 2006.
Mulally’s reversal at Ford began by mortgaging every asset the company had, including its iconic blue oval logo. Though some questioned this decision, it was a move that saved Ford from asking for a bailout from the United States government during the 2008 financial crisis. The effects of Mulally’s leadership quickly showed results. In 2006, Ford Motor Company lost $12.7 billion, one of its worst financial performances ever. By 2010, Ford reported an income of $6.6 billion, its best profit in a decade. Ford also introduced several breakthrough vehicles under Mulally, like the industry’s first aluminum bodied pickup truck. Thanks to his financial vision, business acumen and astute planning, Alan Mulally has earned the right to be included among the greatest names in the history of the automotive industry.