November 09, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1960 Robert McNamara named Ford president

In 1946, Henry Ford II, the president of the Ford Motor Company, hired 10 young former intelligence officers from the Air Force, a group that the press soon dubbed the "Whiz Kids." Part of the genius of Henry Ford II, who was second only to his grandfather in business acumen, was his ability to find the most talented people in the industry and bring them into key positions in his rapidly growing postwar corporation. Robert McNamara, one of the Air Force "Whiz Kids," was one such individual. In addition to his other talents, McNamara was a financial disciplinarian who brought quantitative analysis and the science of modern management to the Ford Motor Company. Under the guidance of Henry Ford II and employees like Robert McNamara, Ford flourished during the 1950s, yielding such success stories as the Ford Thunderbird in 1954. On this day, Robert S. McNamara was named president of Ford, as Henry Ford II stepped down from the presidency and became chief executive officer. However, McNamara would remain at the reigns of Ford for less than two months--on January 1, 1961, McNamara resigned from Ford to become secretary of defense for the new administration of President John F. Kennedy.

Posted by Quality Weenie at November 9, 2005 08:22 AM | TrackBack