The Ford Legacy
Few family dynasties in Corporate America can compare with the stormy
mix of creative genius, business acumen, noblesse oblige, infighting,
scandal, and boardroom feuding of the Fords. Nearly 100 years after
the first Model T rolled off the assembly line, the family still controls 40% of the company. On Jan. 1, 1999, the fourth generation will take the wheel, as Bill Ford Jr. becomes chairman
WIFE, CLARA BRYANT
Ford Motor founder, he ran the company from its inception in 1903 to
1945. An inveterate tinkerer who once worked for Thomas Edison, he was
an early champion of the gas-powered engine. But he was best known for
creating the first moving assembly line. Although he was a pioneer in
mass-produced, affordable cars, his stubborn refusal to diversify beyond
the Model T and his bloody battles with unions pushed his company to the
brink of disaster. Famously insisted that customers could have any color
car ''so long as it is black.'' He favored social engineering, building
schools, roads, and hospitals--but also insisted on employee cleanliness,
thrift, and sobriety.
EDSEL BRYANT FORD
WIFE, ELEANOR CLAY
Henry Ford's only child, Edsel was president from 1919 to 1943. A frail,
creative manager, he was bullied and undermined by his father. His son
Henry II inadvertently made his name synonymous with failure by naming
the Edsel after him.
HENRY FORD II
WIFE, ANNE McDONNELL
Left Yale after his father's death to join Ford in 1943. CEO from 1945;
chairman 1960-80. An autocratic leader who fired three presidents, he
revived the company after World War II. Settled fights with: ''My name
is on the building.''
-- CHARLOTTE FORD
Agitated in 1989 for a greater Ford family presence on the board.
Publishes Charlotte Ford's Book of Modern Manners.
-- ANNE FORD
-- EDSEL FORD II
Joined company in 1974; board in 1988. As eldest male cousin, was
once top contender to run the company. Became president of Ford
Motor Credit in 1991 but left in April, 1998, to pursue private
WIFE, EDITH McNAUGHTON
Joined company in 1940, became a director in 1941. Held jobs in Lincoln-
Mercury and dealer operations until his death in 1978 but gradually
receded from the business to spend his days yachting, as his brother
Henry II shut him out.
-- BENSON FORD JR.
Living in Southern California and racing cars, he hired attorney Roy Cohn to sue the family trust after his father's death in 1978,
demanding more money and a board seat. He raised a ruckus from the floor at Ford's 1979 shareholder meeting. Since reconciled with the
family, he returned to take a Ford marketing job between 1986 and
1995. He now sponsors a motorcycle team and races formula cars.
-- LYNN FORD ALANDT
JOSEPHINE CLAY FORD
HUSBAND, WALTER BUHL FORD II
Known as the family prankster, she married interior designer Walter Buhl
Ford II (no relation) in 1943. A museum benefactor, her own collection
includes paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, and Picasso.
-- WALTER BUHL FORD III
Tried to start a movie business. Worked for Ford marketing from
1978 to 1993.
-- ELEANOR CLAY FORD BOURKE
-- JOSEPHINE CLAY FORD INGLE
-- ALFRED BRUSH FORD
Shunned the family business, became a Hare Krishna, and renamed
himself Ambarish Das. Donated a part of his fortune to convert a
Grosse Pointe mansion into an ashram. Active in Ford corporate
WILLIAM CLAY FORD
WIFE, MARTHA FIRESTONE
A director since 1948, ran Continental car division until brother
Henry II closed it down in 1956. Named vice-chairman in 1980 when
Henry bypassed him to name a nonfamily chairman. Became head of key
finance committee after Henry's death in 1987.
-- MARTHA PARKE FORD MORSE
-- SHEILA FIRESTONE HAMP
Currently active in Ford corporate charities.
-- WILLIAM CLAY FORD JR.
Hired at Ford in 1979 straight out of Princeton. Joined board
in 1988. Rotated through 15 jobs before leaving management in
1994 to run the finance committee.
-- ELIZABETH KONTULIS
SOURCE: BW, ''THE FORDS'' BY PETER COLLIER AND DAVID HOROWITZ; FORD MOTOR CO.
- COVER STORY: TAKING THE WHEEL AT FORD
- COVER IMAGE: Chairman Ford
- TABLE: The Ford Legacy
- PHOTO: Edsel and Eleanor Ford and Their Four Children
- PHOTO: Henry and Clara Ford, 1943
- CHART: Ford vs. GM: And the Winner Is...
- RESUME: William Clay Ford Jr.
- ONLINE ORIGINAL: INVESTING IN THE BIG THREE: DRIVE CAREFULLY
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