Many people believe:
• Manufacturing is dead in the United States.
• Automobiles from U.S. manufacturers are not competitive with those from
manufacturers in Japan and Germany.
• A CEO from outside the automobile industry would not be able to provide leadership for the industry.
• The devastating impact of eliminating one third of the jobs in a company would leave those remaining in a demoralized state.
Alan Mulally is proving “many people” wrong. In 2006, he made the move from CEO of the Commercial Airplane Division of Boeing to CEO of Ford Motor Company. He reduced one third of the workforce, restructured the business plan through very significant borrowing, and walked the company through significant losses. But today, Ford is the only U.S. automobile company that is not in bankruptcy. The company is making a profit again. They are making cars in Michigan. And the positive response from the remaining employees at Ford places the company in the 87th percentile of companies in their comparison group for employee satisfaction.
Mulally is infectious in his enthusiasm for people, for cars, and for innovation. And he has moved the company in this positive direction by revisiting the original vision of founder Henry Ford, and reinterpreting it for the 21st century.
This is a truly remarkable story, and one worth learning from in this age of corporate greed and CEO failures.
Also in this issue, we have posted an essay by two partners in a consulting business who offer a four-step model for creating an ethical foundation for a company. Roger Eigsti offers additional comments on the news. Other features will be added soon including Technology Watch, more book reviews, and another ethical dilemma in the workplace.
The next issue will feature a Conversation with Marshall N. Carter, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange Group and deputy chairman of the parent company NYSE Euronext. David Gautschi (the new dean of the business school at Fordham University) and I talked with him in May, the day after a major drop in the market. He offers his perspective on what is wrong in today’s financial sector and what he believes will come from the current efforts to control the markets through legislation. This will be available in early August.
As always, we welcome your comments.
Executive editor, Ethix