Bill Ford Takes the Wheel

Ford Motor's new CEO is well-liked, but can he and his handpicked team bring off the needed overhaul?

For a brief, shining moment on the morning of Oct. 30, Ford Motor Co.'s Dearborn (Mich.) headquarters felt like Camelot. Cheering workers surged to their feet as William C. Ford Jr. introduced himself as the company's new chief executive officer at a hastily arranged press conference. Amid the gloom about worsening profits and quality, the ouster of CEO Jacques A. Nasser at the hands of founder Henry Ford's well-liked great-grandson was a tonic to battered morale. And the shift in mood was almost palpable. "It was like the old Ford again," says one company insider. "People were smiling again instead of staring at the ground."

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