With just a day until Bryce Hoffman's American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company is released, more revelations from the book are hitting the headlines. Among the juiciest: Nissan-Renault chief Carlos Ghosn was offered the top job at Ford prior to Alan Mulally, but turned it down because he didn't want to work for then-CEO Bill Ford.
According to excerpt from the book published by Automotive News, Ford made Ghosn a formal offer in early 2006, but Le Cost Cutter insisted the only way he would come to Ford was if he was named both the CEO and chairman of the board. When Mulally was eventually hired as CEO, Bill Ford stepped aside but retained his position as chairman of the company that shares his surname.
Despite Bill Ford's power at the company that bears his family's name, other excerpts from the book reveals that he didn't always get the straight scoop from other executives. One soon-to-be-famous example concerns the second-generation Ford Focus, which went on sale in Europe in late 2004. Just as most journalists did at the time, Bill Ford wanted to know why the new model wasn't coming to North America. According to the excerpt, then-president Jim Padilla gave his boss a PR-spin-worthy line about "product cycles [that] don't line up."
Ford was unpleased with the explanation, according to the report: "This is all a bunch of [expletive], he fumed as he left the meeting. Nobody will give me a straight answer."