Alan Mulally, who was hired as CEO of Ford in September 2006, had not engineered, designed, or built any cars. He came from Boeing. After joining Ford, he devised a plan that identified specific goals for the company, created a process that moved it toward those goals, and installed a management system to make sure the company reaches those goals. Mulally demands weekly, sometimes daily, updates. “Alan's style is pretty relentless,” says chief financial officer Lewis Booth, a 31-year Ford veteran. “He says, ‘If this is the reality, what are we going to do about it?' not ‘We're going to work our way through it.'”
Mulally's leadership has resulted in Ford making some strategic moves. When Mulally arrived in September 2006, Ford was known
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I said, ‘Where's the Taurus?' Senior leaders said, ‘Well, we killed it.' I said, ‘What do you mean, you killed it?' ‘Well, we made a couple that looked like a football. They didn't sell very well, so we stopped it.' ‘You stopped the Taurus?' I said. ‘How many billions of dollars does it cost to build brand loyalty around a name?' ‘Well, we thought it was so damaged that we named it the Five Hundred.' I said, ‘Well, you've got until tomorrow to find a vehicle to put the Taurus name on because that's why I'm here. Then you have two years to make the coolest vehicle that you can possibly make.'” The 2010 Taurus is now in dealer showrooms.
Ford's long-tenured executives were shocked by Mulally's arrival. Fierce loyalties and frequent turf battles became features of Ford's corporate culture—and the tough guys won. Despite nearly 40 years in the commercial airplane business—one of the most international of all industries—Mulally looks youthful. He dresses casually in a blue blazer, button-down shirt, and kiltie loafers, and his smile makes him appear bemused or even a bit puzzled by what goes on around him. His appearance, however, masks confidence, discipline, and a fierce desire to win.
“Communicate, communicate, communicate,” Mulally states. “Everyone has to know the plan, its status, and areas that need special attention.” Mulally is determined to reduce Ford's