CEO of Ford Motor Company
Live Web cast July 27, 2000, 1 p.m. ET
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Jacques Nasser, CEO of Ford Motor Company, owns his own crash helmet.
Given the rate he's driving the company in new directions, he may well need
it. With some bold moves, Nasser is trying to accelerate Ford into the
digital consumer age as soon as possible.
Since he became president and CEO on January 1, 1999, Nasser has brought in
new people, new philosophies, and new technologies to assure the company's
success in the "new economy." As he explains it, "Ford Motor Company's
vision is to become the world's leading consumer company...This represents a
subtle but very significant change from our past aspiration of being the
world's leading automotive company."
Make no mistake, Ford is still a huge car company with 370,000 employees in
200 countries, sales and revenues of $143 billion in 1998 and record
earnings of $6.6 billion that year. In 1999, Nasser was voted Automobile
Industries Man of the Year.
Nasser was born in Lebanon, but when he was still a toddler his parents
emigrated to Australia. He started his career with Ford there in 1968 as a
financial analyst. In the last three decades has worked in Asia, Latin
America, and South Africa. He hopes to pass General Motors and make Ford
the number one car company in the world. In pursuit of that goal, Ford has
acquired Jaguar, Land Rover, and most recently Volvo.
Henry Ford started the car company in 1903 with 11 associates and $28,000.
They sold their first car to Dr. E. Pfenning of Chicago. Almost a century
later, Jac Nasser is trying to refocus the company on consumers like Dr.
Pfenning. He's not afraid to break with the past to do so.
As he said in a speech to stockholders last year, "While we honor our traditions, we are not
bound by them. The energy and ambition of the Ford team to create new ways
is almost limitless." As long as they keep their eyes on the road and
their hands on the wheel.
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