A change of regime at Ford

The retirement of William Clay Ford Sr marks an end to an involvement in the family firm which dates back to 1948. Ford, one of Henry Ford's grandsons, has been wielded considerable power over the years. The youngest son of Edsel B Ford, Henry Ford's only child, William Clay Ford joined the board of the Ford Motor Company in 1948, when he was 23. In recent years he has wielded considerable power behind the scenes and was a key player in the decision to fire Jac Nasser in 2001. He remains Ford's biggest individual sharehoolder with 21%. Often in the shadow of his brother Henry Ford II, he was nonetheless head of product planning in the 1950s. He never became chairman but preferred to act as advisor to others. He remained in charge of design until he retired as an active executive in 1989 and provided a steady influence on the business. His son Bill Ford Jr is the current chairman and chief executive of the company.

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