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Why Ford’s Most Outrageous CEO Wrote The Best Letters And Made the Most Money

Source | | Laura Rittenhouse | Leadership Strategy

What makes a CEO outrageous? When he or she has the courage to try to change a company’s culture. This was the challenge facing Alan Mulally after he was named the new CEO of Ford Motor. He arrived in September 2006, just as the company was losing sales, reputation and a belief in a better future. Does this sound like mission impossible? Most likely. Changing a culture is one of the toughest jobs any executive can take on.

Choosing Mulally was surprising to Ford insiders and outsiders. He  graduated in 1969 in aeronautical and astronautical engineering and joined Boeing where he built his career to become Executive Vice-President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Aircraft. He knew a lot about planes, but cars?

When Mulally joined Ford in 2006, the company was running on empty. To stay solvent, it mortgaged its assets and raised cash. This allowed the company to survive the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. In fact, it was on Mulally’s watch that Ford won the respect of customers and citizens in 2007 by declining a government bailout – the only major automotive company to do so.

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