Ford: The Board Starts To Get Tough

Dearborn is under the gun to boost margins--now

With overseas losses mounting and the stock falling, Ford Motor Co.'s board of directors reached the boiling point last fall. Sources close to the board tell BUSINESS WEEK that 11 of Ford's outside directors--led by Michael D. Dingman, chief executive of Shipston Group Ltd.--were so frustrated with Ford's unexpectedly high non-U.S. auto losses in the third quarter that they read the riot act to Chairman Alexander J. Trotman. At the November board meeting, Dingman read the chairman a letter from the outside directors calling for him to bring order to Ford 2000, Trotman's increasingly unwieldy global reorganization plan. No more earnings surprises, they said--especially downside ones.

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