Skip to main content

Ford CEO to be honored as 'Executive of the Year'

March 23, 2010

He has proven to be an exceptional leader, never asking for bailout money while other American car companies accepted billions of dollars. On April 1, Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company, will be honored as "Executive of the Year" by a national group of prominent business executives who advise the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

The Dean’s Council of 100 selected Mulally as its 27th annual Executive of the Year to recognize his impressive work in leading and improving Ford, despite the recession and incredible challenges facing the auto industry. Mulally took over at Ford in 2006, and his cost-cutting measures helped the company achieve its first profitable quarter in two years. He brought back the popular Taurus model, enhanced overall product quality and value, and had the foresight to borrow a large amount of non-government money to finance a major overhaul and provide a cushion for unexpected economic events before the recession. Now, that loan is credited with stabilizing Ford while other American car companies went bankrupt and accepted government bailouts.

“Mulally has done an amazing job at Ford, demonstrating tremendous leadership in a difficult industry during one of the worst economic climates in modern history,” said W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “He sets a clear example of what a top executive should be.”

Mulally was one of the top executives at Boeing before taking the helm at Ford. At the automaker, he has implemented a restructuring plan to address declining market share, streamlined the process of turning cars from designs into reality, and sold off Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin to focus more on the Ford brand. He was named one of “The World’s Most Influential People” in 2009 by Time magazine and one of “The Best Leaders of 2005” by BusinessWeek magazine.

Ford sales this February were up 43 percent over last year. A true focus on improving products, such as attention to fuel efficiency, helped with the boost.

“We have successfully turned around our business to be profitable during the most difficult business environment since the Great Depression, all the while fully funding our product programs to ensure we have the best cars and trucks possible,” Mulally said.

Ford is working to make its products world-class in every segment. This is evidenced by the many awards Ford vehicles have won this year, including Motor Trend Car of the Year for the Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, as well as the North American International Car and Truck of the Year Awards for the Fusion and the Transit Connect.

Mulally will give a speech about the auto industry when he accepts the Dean’s Council of 100 Executive of the Year Award at an event on April 1. The luncheon will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Camelback Inn at 5402 E. Lincoln Drive in Scottsdale.

This event is part of the Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series. ECP was founded by the Dean’s Council of 100 as the pre-eminent Arizona forum for the exchange of ideas about business and the economy. For more information about the club, go Seating for the Executive of the Year event is limited. For reservations, call (480) 727-0596 or e-mail