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At Ford, A Daughter Also Rises

Posted by: David Kiley on January 28, 2009

At Ford, a daughter also rises.

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that Elena Ford is assuming a new post as director of global marketing, sales and service. In the newly created position, Ms. Ford, will coordinate those functions aspecially as they relate to Ford’s coming lineup of global vehicles such as Focus, Fiesta and Fusion/Mondeo.

She reports to James Farley, group vice president of marketing and communications. Elena Ford, the grand-daughter of Henry Ford II, has been winding her way through an assortment of U.S. and international jobs at the automaker much like her cousin, William Clay Ford Jr., did before becoming chairman and then CEO.

Bill Ford relinquished the CEO position in 2006, but remains executive chairman of the board. He is the great grandson of Henry Ford. His father, William C. Ford Sr. is the brother of the late Henry Ford II.

She most recently held an executive vice president post at Ford Motor Credit, but she has also held marketing, product planning and strategy posts at the automobile division. She started working for Ford in 1995.

Ford, under CEO Alan Mulally, has been streamlining the company worldwide to lower costs and make the company more efficient. The new Ford Focus launching in 2010, for example, will be the same cars worldwide with minor changes adopted to suit each world region. That is a departure from the past strategy, which had one car sold as the Focus in the U,S. and a different vehicle sold as the Focus in Europe.

But Ford is also looking to streamline the marketing of the vehicles worldwide. Ad agency company WPP has appointed a global creative director for the car. And Ford will look to deliver the same messages and images in each world-market, combining everything from film production to printing. “The strategy will save Ford tens of million of dollars, which is money we can put into media getting the message out rather than spending it making the message,” said Farley.
“This is a much different and smarter way of doing things at Ford,” said Ms. Ford.

Farley said that making the new system work depends on having someone in the job who can work with every operating region of the world and who has relationships to get the work done right. “Elena certainly has those strengths,” he said.

She replaces Ford director of global marketing Anne Belec who left the company this month after 24 years.

Reader Comments


January 28, 2009 4:19 PM

Maybe some family pride will help Ford regain a better position in the market...can't hurt much worse than what they've been doing. Only time will tell.


January 28, 2009 5:31 PM

Holding special Ford stocks with powerful voting power, the Ford family has been able to indirectly and directly run the Ford Company into the ground in recent years. Until the Mulany(sic)appointment necessitated by desperate circumstances, the Ford progeny ascends to corporate CEO as a matter of birth right. When Lee Iaococa(sic) demonstrated his superior managerial skill, out-shining and out-thinking the fuddy-duddy incumbent Ford CEO in the adjacent HQ penthouse suite, Lee Iaococa was summarily fired. The Fords do not take kindly to non-Fords who "out Jones" them. Born into the yacht-life of Grosse Point, Michigan, and nagging nannies, the children of Senior Ford have had trouble acclimating the harsh working world reality with their inherited privileges of living in mansion estates adorned with manicured lawns and stately maple trees. Exemplary is Ford Jr who demanded an office at Ford Dearborn corporate HQ upon reaching a ripe-mature-business savvy age of about 25 years old. Ford Sr instructed Junior to work at the Ford warehouse to gain some working experience. Reluctantly, hemming and hawing, Junior fetched auto part orders until he had another revelation in later years. He will attend a Ford shareholders meeting where Ford Junior will demand a corporate position from the Board which is heavily in favor of the Ford family. Fortunately, Ford Senior stood up and instructed Junior to "shut-up and sit down." With the passage of time, Junior became Bill Ford, CEO of Ford. In less than a decade, Bill Ford's managerial skills derived from his special up-bringing brought Ford Corporation to its knees-- to the point of even asking for government financial assistance. The magic influence of the Ford family's voting power as well as superb managerial skill from its offspring demonstrate why shareholders should be wary of another Ford CEO.


February 14, 2009 12:01 PM

Show them how it's done, Ms. Ford.

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