PEOPLE: NEIL RESSLER
Name: Neil Ressler
Nationality: United States of America
From Columbus, Ohio Ressler went to the General Motor Institute to study mechanical engineering before going on to gain a Masters degree and a doctorate at the University of Michigan. With such a high-powered education Ressler was a good catch for the Ford Motor Company which he joined as a senior research scientist in 1967. Four years later he become the principal design engineer in the Suspension and Steering Division where he was to spend the next 10 years of his career. There followed a series of management postings as chief engineer in a variety of different divisions before he became director of quality and product systems in 1988.
He also found time to gain an MBA at Michigan State University while working with Ford.
By 1990 he had reached the position of executive director and in 1994 he became a Ford Vice-President, his first job being in charge of core product development. He then moved across to become head of advanced vehicle technology, looking at the future development of the automobile. This department has been working to help the development of Stewart Grand Prix and with Ford keen to get results in F1, it was Ressler who was picked to push the program alone. In September he was named a non-executive director of Stewart Grand Prix and was appointed chairman of Cosworth Racing.
At the start of 1999 he took on the new title of Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer of Research and Vehicle Technology with responsibilities for Advanced Vehicle Technology, Scientific Research and Environmental and Safety Engineering.
In January 2000 he was named chairman of Jaguar Racing. After a year of that he retired and returned to the States. He was replaced by Bobby Rahal. Ressler remains involved in Jaguar Racing as a member of the board of directors.