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Henry Ford II

Henry Ford II

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Henry Ford II commonly known as "HF2" and "Hank the Deuce", was the son of Edsel Ford
Edsel Ford
Edsel Bryant Ford , son of Henry Ford, was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He was president of Ford Motor Company from 1919 until his death in 1943.-Life and career:...

 and grandson of Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

. He was president of the Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 from 1945 to 1960, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO)
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 from 1960 to 1979, and chairman for several months thereafter.

Early life


Henry Ford II was born in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

 to Eleanor Clay Ford and Edsel Ford
Edsel Ford
Edsel Bryant Ford , son of Henry Ford, was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He was president of Ford Motor Company from 1919 until his death in 1943.-Life and career:...

 on September 4, 1917. He and his brothers, Benson and William, grew up amid affluence, but their father tried to make sure that they understood the meaning of work and money.

Career


When his father Edsel
Edsel Ford
Edsel Bryant Ford , son of Henry Ford, was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He was president of Ford Motor Company from 1919 until his death in 1943.-Life and career:...

, the president of Ford, died of cancer in May 1943 (during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

), Henry Ford II was serving in the navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, and was thus unable to take over the presidency of the family-owned business. The elderly and ailing Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

, company founder, decided to assume the presidency. By this point in his life, he was mentally inconsistent, suspicious, and generally no longer fit for such a job; most of the directors did not want to see him as president. But for the previous 20 years, although he had long been without any official executive title, he had always had de facto control over the company; the board and the management had never seriously defied him, and this moment was not different. The directors elected him, and he served until the end of the war. During this period the company began to decline, losing over $10 million a month. The administration of President Franklin Roosevelt had been considering a government takeover of the company in order to ensure continued war production, but the idea never progressed to execution.

Henry Ford II left the Navy in July 1943 and joined the company's management a few weeks later. After 2 years, he took over the presidency of the company on September 21, 1945. Since it had been assumed that Edsel Ford would continue in his capacity as president of the company for much longer than turned out to actually be the case, Henry Ford II had received little grooming for the position, and he took over the company during a chaotic period; its Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an factories had suffered a great deal of damage during the war, and domestic sales were also in decline.

Henry Ford II immediately adopted an aggressive management style. One of his first acts as company president was to fire Harry Bennett
Harry Bennett
Harry Bennett , a former boxer and ex-Navy sailor, was an executive at Ford Motor Company during the 1930s and 1940s. He was best known as the head of Ford’s Service Department, or Internal Security. While working for Ford, his union busting tactics, of which The Battle of the Overpass was a prime...

, head of the Ford Service Department, who had originally been hired by Henry Ford to stifle attempts at unionization. Next, acknowledging his inexperience, he hired several seasoned executives to support him. He hired former General Motors executives Ernest Breech and Lewis Crusoe away from the Bendix Corporation
Bendix Corporation
The Bendix Corporation was an American manufacturing and engineering company which during various times in its 60 year existence made brake systems, aeronautical hydraulics, avionics, aircraft and automobile fuel control systems, radios, televisions and computers, and which licensed its name for...

. Breech was to serve in the coming years as HF2's business mentor, and the Breech–Crusoe team would form the core of Ford's business expertise, offering much-needed experience.

Additionally, HF2 hired ten young up-and-comers, known as the "Whiz Kids". These ten, gleaned from an Army Air Forces statistical team, HF2 envisioned as giving the company the ability to innovate and stay current with the times. Two of them, Arjay Miller and Robert McNamara
Robert McNamara
Robert Strange McNamara was an American business executive and the eighth Secretary of Defense, serving under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1968, during which time he played a large role in escalating the United States involvement in the Vietnam War...

, would go on to serve as president of Ford themselves. A third member, J. Edward Lundy
J. Edward Lundy
J. Edward Lundy was an American automobile executive who became the chief financial officer of Ford Motor Company....

, served in key financial roles for several decades and helped to establish Ford Finance's reputation as one of the best Finance organizations in the world. As a team, the "whiz kids" are probably best remembered as the design team for the 1949 Ford
1949 Ford
After sticking with its well-received previous model through model year 1948, Ford completely redesigned its namesake car for 1949. Save for its drivetrain, this was an all-new car in every way, with a modern ladder frame now supporting a coil spring suspension in front and longitudinal...

, which they took from concept to production in nineteen months, and which re-established Ford as a formidable automotive company. It was reported that 100,000 orders for this car were taken the day it was introduced to the market.

Henry Ford II was president of Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 from 1945 to 1960. The company became a publicly traded corporation under his leadership in 1956. When he resigned the presidency, he became CEO of the company. On July 13, 1960 he was additionally elected Chairman; he resigned as CEO on October 1, 1979, and as Chairman in 1980. His nephew, William Clay Ford, Jr.
William Clay Ford, Jr.
William Clay "Bill" Ford Jr. , is the great-grandson of Henry Ford, and serves as the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, Ford also served as the President, CEO, and COO until turning over those roles to former Boeing executive Alan Mulally in September 2006...

 would later assume these positions after 20 years of non-Ford family management of the company. During the interim, the family interests were represented on the board by Henry's younger brother William Clay Ford, Sr.
William Clay Ford, Sr.
William Clay Ford, Sr. is the youngest of the four children of Edsel Ford and the youngest grandchild of Henry Ford.-Biography:...

, as well as his son Edsel Ford II
Edsel Ford II
Edsel Bryant Ford II is the great-grandson of Henry Ford and the son of Henry Ford II. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Ford Motor Company.-Education:...

 and his nephew William Clay Ford, Jr.

Upon the release of the CVCC
CVCC
CVCC is a trademark by the Honda Motor Company for an engine with reduced automotive emissions, which stood for "Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion". This technology allowed Honda's cars to meet United States emission standards in the 1970s without a catalytic converter...

 engine by Honda Motor Company, Ford's then-President Lee Iacocca
Lee Iacocca
Lido Anthony "Lee" Iacocca is an American businessman known for engineering the Mustang, the unsuccessful Ford Pinto, being fired from Ford Motor Company, and his revival of the Chrysler Corporation in the 1980s...

 was highly interested in adopting the new engine in a small Ford vehicle, possibly the Pinto
Ford Pinto
The Ford Pinto is a subcompact car produced by the Ford Motor Company for the model years 1971–1980. The car's name derives from the Pinto horse. Initially offered as a two-door sedan, Ford offered "Runabout" hatchback and wagon models the following year, competing in the U.S. market with the AMC...

 or Fiesta
Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is a front wheel drive supermini/subcompact manufactured and marketed by Ford Motor Company and built in Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, China, India, Thailand and South Africa...

- perhaps even going as far to sell the Honda Civic
Honda Civic
The Honda Civic is a line of subcompact and subsequently compact cars made and manufactured by Honda. The Civic, along with the Accord and Prelude, comprised Honda's vehicles sold in North America until the 1990s, when the model lineup was expanded...

 as a Ford. The plan was scuttled by Henry Ford II, who stated: "No car with my name on the hood is going to have a Jap engine inside," although the Ford Motor Company had been selling a Mazda truck as the Ford Courier since late 1971 and HF2 personally signed off on every new car—while the CVCC wasn't tested by the EPA until October 1972. This bit of anger was perhaps understandable for a man who had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, but the Ford Motor Company did go on to adapt to the era in which Japanese, German, and American participation in a globalized automobile industry became tightly integrated. For example, Ford's relationship with Mazda
Mazda
is a Japanese automotive manufacturer based in Fuchū, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.In 2007, Mazda produced almost 1.3 million vehicles for global sales...

 was well developed even before the end of HF2's period of influence.

HF2's management style caused the company's fortunes to fluctuate in more ways than one. For example, his offering of public stock in 1956 raised 650 million USD for the company, but the "experimental car" program instituted during his tenure, the Edsel
Edsel
The Edsel was an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company during the 1958, 1959, and 1960 model years. The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly. Consequently, the Ford Motor Company lost millions of dollars on the Edsel's development,...

, lost the company almost half that. Likewise, HF2 hired the creative Lee Iacocca
Lee Iacocca
Lido Anthony "Lee" Iacocca is an American businessman known for engineering the Mustang, the unsuccessful Ford Pinto, being fired from Ford Motor Company, and his revival of the Chrysler Corporation in the 1980s...

, who was fundamental to the success of the Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. It was initially based on the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car. Introduced early on April 17, 1964, as a "1964½" model, the 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A...

, in 1964, but fired Iacocca due to personal disputes and bad business decisions (rushing the Pinto into production without proper testing, cutting production corners to boost the bottom line, horrid quality control and lawsuits arising from same.) in 1978 (about the break in their relationship, HF2 was famously quoted as saying, "Sometimes you just don't like somebody"). Nevertheless, Henry Ford II's overall influence on the company was substantial. By the time he retired as Chairman in 1980, Ford Motor Company was the fourth-largest industrial corporation in the world. He retired as an officer and employee of Ford Motor Company on October 1, 1982, as per the company's mandatory retirement age of 65, but remained the ultimate source of authority at Ford until his death in 1987.

Awards and achievements


He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 from President Lyndon Johnson in 1969.

Ford was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1996.

Personal life


Henry Ford II was married three times:
  • Anne McDonnell (1920—1996), a daughter of James F. McDonnell. They married in 1940 and divorced in 1964 (she married Deane F. Johnson in 1968). The Fords had three children: Charlotte, Anne, and Edsel Ford II
    Edsel Ford II
    Edsel Bryant Ford II is the great-grandson of Henry Ford and the son of Henry Ford II. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Ford Motor Company.-Education:...

    http://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/31/nyregion/anne-ford-johnson-76-dies-influenced-fashion-and-arts.html
  • Maria Cristina Vettore
    Cristina Ford
    Cristina Vettore Austin, who became commonly known as Cristina Ford or Mrs. Henry Ford II, was the second wife of former president, chairman, and chief executive officer of the Ford Motor Company Henry Ford II...

     (born 1926), formerly wife of Lt. William Austin, a British naval officer; married 1965, divorced 1980
  • Kathleen DuRoss (born 1949), widow of David DuRoss (died 1968); she and Ford were married in Carson City, Nevada, 1980. By this marriage Ford had two stepdaughters, Deborah Guibord and Kimberly DuRoss.


He died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 in Detroit at Henry Ford Hospital
Henry Ford Hospital
Henry Ford Hospital, the flagship facility for , is an 805-bed tertiary care hospital, education and research complex located in Detroit ....

 on September 29, 1987, at the age of 70.

External links