Ford Motor Company recently lost William Clay Ford Sr. who had been at the helm of the company for over five decades. Not only was this a huge blow for the company, but also to the American Professional Football team the Detroit Lions. The team not only lost their owner but also their chairman. Ford Sr. was also Henry Ford’s last surviving grandchild who was the founder of Ford Motor Company.
Ford Sr. died on March 9 in his sleep and the cause of death is believed to have been pneumonia. He died at the age of 88, just a week before his 89th birthday. The company in a statement said that his death was a deep loss as it was Ford Sr. who led his company to success in the modern technological world. They feel that it was Ford Sr.’s ideas and technological tactics that ensured their products remained at the top despite the severe competition. For the entire time he was a part of the company, he oversaw the design and creation of a number of classic vehicles. This included the development of the Ford Continental Mark II which, according to many, set the standard of what a luxury car should be.
Ford Sr.’s career with Ford Motor began in 1948 when he was asked to join the company’s Board of Directors. After graduating from Yale University in 1949 he started his employment with the company. Having been part of the company for almost 29 years, Ford Sr. was appointed as Chairman of the Executive Committee in 1978 and in 1987 was elected the Chairman of the Finance Committee. He began retiring from his positions in 1989 when he first stepped back from his role as a Vice Chairman of the Board until 2005, when he entirely retired from being a member of the Board.
Ford President and current CEO, Alan Mulally, said that Ford Sr.’s impact on the company is surely unparalleled, but that they were grateful to have known him and for his many contributions to the company. Ford Sr.’s family also expressed their grief but took the time to mention how his personality and character had affected them.
William Clay Ford Jr., son of Ford Sr. and Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, said that his father was a great man who dedicated his entire life to the well-being of the company. Not only was he a devoted leader and a humanitarian, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Ford Jr. went on to say that even though his father was no longer with them, he would continue to inspire them all. Ford Sr. is survived by his wife, Martha Firestone Ford, and four children.
Apart from the company, Ford Sr. was affiliated with a number of different ventures. He bought the football team the Detroit Lions in 1938 and remained their chairman until his death. Although the team did not do well on the field, it remained successful financially while under the guidance of Ford Sr. He was chairman of the Henry Ford Museum’s Board of Trustees, as well as being the Director of the Detroit Economic Club.
Ford Sr. has been the leading head for Ford Motor ever since his brother Henry Ford II died in 1987. Although he no longer personally oversaw any of the company’s decisions and development, his loss, according to many, will surely have a profound impact on Ford Motor Company.
By Hammad Ali