The only question was when, not if, Billy Ford (I guess I'll have to call him Bill from now on) would be elected chairman of Ford Motor Co. It seems only natural to have a Ford as the titular head of the company.
OK, he won't really run the company day-to-day. Jac Nasser, a talented and colorful executive, will become CEO and will be responsible for worldwide operations.
But William Clay Ford Jr. will be chairman of the board, and that means that once again a Ford will be on top of the organizational chart.
When Henry Ford II stepped down in 1980 and turned over the top spot to Phil Caldwell - who did a good job - it always seemed a little unnatural. Maybe in this day and age you do need a professional management team. But it's still nice to know that someone who has a longer perspective is looking out for the interests of the company. Billy Ford is the great-grandson of the original Henry Ford, and the family still has 40 percent of the voting stock; it's only natural for the family to want a Ford to keep an eye on things.
I'm sure that William Clay Ford Sr. is proud of his son and feels that the time is right for him to take over the reins of the family business and represent the family on the board along with his cousin Edsel.
Alex Trotman is leaving before the final verdict on his stewardship. His single most important project has been Ford 2000, which has yet to be convincingly proven effective or successful.
And new CEO Jac Nasser will have his hands full trying to run Ford as a global company with competition from around the world knocking at the door.
Billy's appointment does one important thing. Regardless of the nationality of the CEO, Ford Motor Co. is an American company based in Dearborn.
It has a global presence, but it is American. With a Ford as chairman, there can be no doubt. If DaimlerChrysler is global, so be it. But Fiat is Italian, Renault is French, Toyota is Japanese and Ford is American.
The Fords have a long and wonderful history. I'm sure that Billy will enjoy his new position with the family business. But I'm also sure that he has no idea just how much time he will have to give, even as a non-CEO chairman, to this enterprise. We wish him well.