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Jacques Nasser
CEO of Ford Motor Company
Live Web cast July 27, 2000, 1 p.m. ET

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Jacques Nasser
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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