Family Feud: Ford Dynasty Questioned by Investors
Ford investors are reportedly irked that Ford Motor Co. seems to be pursuing the dynasty management route by issuing elevated positions to individuals of the correct bloodline. Like it or not, Ford has been a family business for the majority of its existence, but it’s facing new scrutiny after adding 32-year-old Alexandra Ford English to the board of electric truck manufacturer Rivian and making 39-year-old Henry Ford III (great-great grandson of the big dog himself) the face of investor relations.
The Ford family currently holds the largest slice of the corporate pie, thanks to their special class of stock, and 40 percent of the voting rights. But the business faces severe headwinds, hampered by the coronavirus and a share price that’s trended stubbornly downward since 2014. This has prompted concern among longtime shareholders and split opinions on whether or not Ford should continue keeping things within the family.
Marriage of State? Bill Ford's Daughter Joins Rivian Board
On Friday, Ford Motor Co. announced Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr’s daughter would immediately join Rivian’s board of directors. In 2019, the automaker dumped $500 million into the electric vehicle startup with aims to build a new Lincoln product using its “skateboard” platform. That plan was scrapped earlier this week, leaving us wondering what that meant for the partnership.
The Blue Oval has since reaffirmed its commitment to use Rivian’s hardware on another project, and now has this marriage of state (or whatever the more tepid modern equivalent would be) with Mr. Ford’s daughter.
Alexandra Ford English has a fairly brief professional history within the automotive industry. She’s been with Ford since 2017, moving from an MBA intern to working within the automaker’s mobility program. She was made director of autonomous vehicles that same year and was later promoted to director of corporate strategy in February of 2020.