Ford's Fixing to Fix the Environment

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Right after WW II, a group of 10 former military officers known as the "Whiz Kids" became a brain trust for Ford Motor Company. The most famous member: Robert McNamara, who went on to become the first non-Ford president of Ford. Bob and his cronies managed by numbers, cut off from the realities of operations and markets. As they say, those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. CNN Money reports that Ford executive chairman and washed-up CEO Bill Ford has announced he's forming a "'Transformation Advisory Council' of senior Ford executives and outside sustainability thought-leaders." But instead of focusing on fixing the company, this latest Ford think tank is taking on all of "society's sustainability challenges." Yes folks, the man who led FoMoCo to the brink of bankruptcy and the executives who helped him push it there are going to "propel us along the road to sustainability," using Ford's "long heritage of environmental innovation, and … commitment to finding solutions that work for everyone." God help us all!

Frank Williams
Frank Williams

More by Frank Williams

Join the conversation
4 of 8 comments
  • Anonymous Anonymous on Nov 14, 2007

    Just what Ford needs. One more reason not to buy a Ford product, if you don't want to support the enviros agenda. Bill jr was planting grass on the roof of the Rouge plant while the company was crumbling around him. More of his 'Turtle on a fence post' leadership style.

  • Tiger260 Tiger260 on Nov 14, 2007

    I think that Frank AND Beetlebug are right..... From my reading of the way the “Whizz kids” era played out at Ford they did indeed save Ford at a time when it was a shambles. Unfortunately the fact that the zealous and meticulous number-crunching methodology had saved the day by bringing order to that chaos also ensured a legacy of blind over-reliance on that methodology which has contributed greatly to the sort of beaurocratic sclerosis that is damaging Detroit to this day. I guess it is a common enough problem in business or politics – the assumption that because a certain policy or philosophy has saved the day once then that policy and its adherents must automatically be the right choice in all situations going forward? The effect was compounded with the Whizz kids that not only did the original recruits bring their ideology with them but they set about recruiting more and more similarly minded followers to seed their approach throughout the ranks of Ford management for generations to come and ensure that any opposing views were going to be outvoted and ignored.

  • Kevin Kevin on Nov 14, 2007

    Never fear, they will accomplish nothing and we'll happily never hear of this again. Meanwhile, why do I suspect that Alan Mulally suggestion this to Bill? Dude might be smarter than any of us realized.

  • Veefiddy Veefiddy on Nov 14, 2007

    when the climate hits the fan somebody is going to make a lot of money with the future of personal transport. prob not ford, though.