F-Bomb Flies From Ford's Fields

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
f bomb flies from fords fields

An Automotive News story today reported on an incredible – dare I say, game changing – method of corporate governance over at Ford; swearing at, and attempting to physically attack your co-workers!

According to a new book titled American Icon, which details Ford’s turnaround since 2006, CFO Don Leclair insisted that the advertising budget for Ford’s “Bold Moves” ad campaign be cut further. AN outlines the exchange below

“When you run the f–king business, you can do it,” Fields responded to Leclair, Hoffman wrote. “But you don’t run it. You’re the CFO. So, I’ll take your counsel, but that’s it.”

Leclair then shouted, “You’re going to do this,” Hoffman wrote, adding: Fields leapt out of his chair screaming, “I’m tired of this bulls—!”

Fields was “halfway across the table” when Bill Ford, then the automaker’s CEO, grabbed him, according to Hoffman. “Cut it out,” Ford said, according to Hoffman’s book

A look at Ford’s org chart shows that Fields and Leclair are on the same level, which makes Fields’ statement regarding running “the f—king business” all the more puzzling. Leclair, as CFO, would probably be a greater asset to Ford than a fungible marketing wonk like Fields, and if this were a conventional work place, Fields probably would have been fired for this kind of behavior. Leclair apparently blocked other moronic marketing department schemes like offering carbon offsets along with the purchase of a Ford vehicle because they were deemed to be [s]the 21st century secular liberl version of buying indulgences from the Church[/s] too expensive.

It’s worth noting that at the same time, Fields was criticized for using the company jet to fly home to Florida, at a cost of $18,000 each week at the same time that the Leclair incident, and the shedding of tens of thousands of hourly workers was occurring.

For [s]a breathless rimjob of Fields dubious actions[/s] an alternate view on the events, and Fields suitability as Ford’s future CEO, check out Jalopnik’s own piece on the matter.

Join the conversation
8 of 39 comments
  • Jimmyy Jimmyy on Mar 03, 2012

    Back in the 90s, when I graduated from UM Ann Arbor with an engineering degree and an MBA, Ford offered me a job. I turned it down and headed for wall street. Many I went to college with took the Ford offer, and have been miserable ever since. As far as I can tell, they never cracked the 200K mark. At this point, they are in their late 30s, and no one wants to hire an auto engineer. They just hope they make it to retirement. Best decision of my life.

    • See 4 previous
    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Mar 15, 2012

      @SCE to AUX Actually, ford did try this up or out strategy, ranking employees as A, B, or C, only problem was the program seemed to be throwing out mostly older people even though they tried to balance this, and the whole experiment resulted in a nervous and demoralized staff as well as a number of lawsuits. In the end, Jac Nasser was forced to give up this lousy idea.

  • Obruni Obruni on Mar 03, 2012

    topping out at $200k in NYC or SF Bay could be frustrating depending on your tastes. topping out at $200k in the Detroit Metro area sounds pretty good to me, however. and there are plenty of Europeans, including bankers, that would kill for €200k a year.

  • Probert There's something wrong with that chart. The 9 month numbers for Tesla, in the chart, are closer to Tesla's Q3 numbers. They delivered 343,830 cars in q3 and YoY it is a 40% increase. They sold 363,830 but deliveries were slowed at the end of the quarter - no cars in inventory. For the past 9 months the total sold is 929,910 . So very good performance considering a major shutdown for about a month in China (Covid, factory revamp). Not sure if the chart is also inaccurate for other makers.
  • ToolGuy "...overall length grew only fractionally, from 187.6” in 1994 to 198.7” in 1995."Something very wrong with that sentence. I believe you just overstated the length by 11 inches.
  • ToolGuy There is no level of markup on the Jeep Wrangler which would not be justified or would make it any less desirable [perfectly inelastic demand, i.e., 'I want one']. Source: My 21-year-old daughter.
  • ToolGuy Strong performance from Fiat.
  • Inside Looking Out GM is like America, it does the right thing only after trying everything else.  As General Motors goes, so goes America.