A Michigan native, Poling was a navy veteran and a graduate of Monmouth College and Indiana University, where he received his MBA. He started working for Ford as an intern at the Rouge steel mill way back in 1950, rising up the corporate ladder over the years as a financial expert.
In March of 1980, after running Ford's North American and European operations, Poling was named president and CEO of the entire company, and ten years later was elected its chairman.
An inductee to the Automotive Hall of Fame and an active member of his community, Poling lead Ford through lean times and into profitability, ushering an enormous quantity of vehicles into production over his many years of leadership. Scroll down for an official statement from his successor Bill Ford.
The following statement is attributable to Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company
"Red Poling was an extraordinary leader who had a profound impact on Ford Motor Company and everyone who worked with him. With a list of accomplishments that span 43 years, including leading the company through a remarkable turnaround during the 1980s and 1990s, Red was respected by all for his leadership, his passion for being the low-cost producer and his genuine affinity for people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."