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#1095003 - 12/28/06 02:23 PM Ford is SO effin' stupid
JonW Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 06/12/04
Posts: 2429
Loc: SW Missouri
Here's a company that is borrowing billions of dollars to stay alive, is laying off a huge amount of it's work force, and it does stupid stuff like this. It's hard for me to have much sympathy for them. This is from Automotive News , written by William Jeanes:

When Mark Fields, Ford's maharajah of the Americas, told his troops, "Change or die, baby," I began to question his leadership qualities. "Baby" is not a word one should use in times of crises.

Why would I worry about Fields' utterances? Because if ever a company needed high-level leadership, it's Ford. And I don't see Fields providing it.

How can you lead if you aren't there? The ABC-TV affiliate in Detroit broke the story that Fields flies home to Florida every weekend at company expense aboard one of the company's jets. The crew hangs out in Florida until he flies back to resume his assigned task of saving Ford Motor Co. from falling off the edge of the world.

Is this commute underhanded? Not a bit of it. It's part of Fields' employment contract with the company that once bragged that it had a better idea. For a company whose bonds just went to seven levels below investment grade, that idea isn't even acceptable, let alone better.

The Detroit TV station's report on the flights estimated their cost as $50,000 to $70,000 per weekend -- or the equivalent of $2 million or $3 million annually. A Ford spokeswoman says that's way too high. A Ford proxy statement reveals that the automaker spent $214,479 on Fields' personal travel for three months in 2005.

So a full-year estimate approaches $900,000 using Ford's own numbers.

Are you wondering whether Mark Fields the commuter is the same guy upon whom Ford lavished a $1 million "retention bonus" as part of a $3.2 million pay package in 2005? Indeed he is. I got angry about that. What kind of a company bribes its leaders to stay aboard -- and what level of leadership do bribes buy?

Mind you, I would have no problem with a performance bonus for a successfully executed turnaround. If Fields saved Ford and as a result became richer than even Kirk Kerkorian, I would be pleased to lead the cheers.

All of us who have seen evidence of serial expense account abuse know that executives such as General Motors' John Z. DeLorean -- and Ford's Henry Ford II, for that matter -- set a pretty low limbo bar for Fields to ooze under. But in those cases, usually, their companies were making money.

It is distressing to watch Ford lay off innocent people while Fields does his best to make Nero look like a populist.

In mid-September, Ford announced that it would ax 14,000 salaried workers and up to 30,000 hourly folks. Company leaders painted that as another dose of difficult but necessary sacrifices needed to save the company. Difficult? How about home-wrecking or marriage-destroying?

All this would be the stuff of which "Saturday Night Live" sketches are made were the situation in Detroit not so horrifying.

Fields may indeed be the messiah who leads Ford out of the wilderness. But not if his idea of leadership means that he thinks he's too good to live in Detroit. Or if he believes he's adding to corporate morale -- or stockholder value -- by spending millions on commuting.

I don't think Fields ever learned that good officers do not eat until their troops have been fed or that it's unattractive to demand sacrifices you aren't willing to make yourself.

I remember my first scoutmaster, a one-time Marine major named William J. Storey. When Troop 10 occupied cold, drafty cabins in the winter, so did Maj. Storey. When we slept in tents, so did he. If we hiked in the rain, he slogged along with us, ranging the entire length of our motley parade -- the better to check on everyone.

He didn't have to do any of that. He was, after all, the boss. He did it because he was a leader.
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#1095004 - 12/28/06 03:58 PM Re: Ford is SO effin' stupid
P71_CrownVic Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 11/19/04
Posts: 4169
Quote:

Ford is SO effin' stupid...




Agreed...
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#1095005 - 12/28/06 04:24 PM Re: Ford is SO effin' stupid
RedPanther Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/06
Posts: 299
Ive been thinking the same thing for a while, it does seem like Fields doesnt care as much about the company as he claims, since hes taking such advantage of it in that way.
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#1095006 - 12/28/06 05:06 PM Re: Ford is SO effin' stupid
metroplex Offline
Metroplectic

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 49827
Loc: Motor City, USA
I bet he's going to jump ship pretty soon.
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#1095007 - 12/29/06 12:27 AM Re: Ford is SO effin' stupid
watkd Offline

Poobah

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 5236
Loc: Tucson, AZ
Quote:

Ive been thinking the same thing for a while, it does seem like Fields doesnt care as much about the company as he claims, since hes taking such advantage of it in that way.




Well I'm somewhat concerned with Mulally aswell, just before they hired him he wasnt even driving a Ford he was driving a Lexus.
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#1095008 - 12/29/06 12:38 AM Re: Ford is SO effin' stupid
JonW Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 06/12/04
Posts: 2429
Loc: SW Missouri
I have more confidence in Mulally than I do Fields.
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#1095009 - 12/29/06 11:44 AM Re: Ford is SO effin' stupid
95CrownVictoriaP74 Offline

Posting Addict

Registered: 11/28/00
Posts: 16675
Loc: Dixie County, Florida
Reduce these hackers salaries to $50,000 a year and see how quickly things change.

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#1095010 - 12/29/06 01:32 PM Re: Ford is SO effin' stupid
Armada Master Offline

Posting Addict

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 19218
Loc: Houston, TX
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