Navistar Fires Back
A few points need clarification in your otherwise excellent profile of Navistar's turnaround ("Navistar: Gunning the engines," The Corporation, Feb. 2).
First, while our partnership with Ford Motor Co. has helped make Navistar the worldwide leader in midrange diesel engines, we do not now have an agreement to supply engines for the company's Expedition model sport-utility vehicle, as the article said.
Second, in our groundbreaking agreement with the United Auto Workers, it is unfair to say that "workers folded their cards." We worked hard with the union to put together a creative deal that addresses our challenge, and more than two-thirds of voting UAW members agreed it was the right thing to do.
Finally, the article omitted information about our executive stock-purchase plan, designed to align management and shareholder interests more closely. We asked our top 30 executives to buy Navistar stock, out of their own pockets, in amounts as high as three times their salary. This represented a big personal sacrifice and risk, given the stock's history of poor performance.
The article stated that management said no to the plan. The fact is, all 30 executives did indeed step up and purchase the stock in the required amounts. This was a dramatic vote of confidence in the company's direction and is indicative of the personal stake our executive team has taken in Navistar's future. The many successes you highlighted came about because of the strength of our management team and all our employees, who rightly share in both the risks and rewards of Navistar's turnaround.
John R. Horne, CEO
Navistar International Corp.
Editor's note: The incorrect information on the Ford Expedition was provided by a top Navistar executive. The stock purchases described in this letter took place in July, three months after Navistar's executive team unanimously refused to buy shares voluntarily, as described in the story.