Jacques Nasser, 50, is the son of Lebanese immigrants from a working-class section of Melbourne, Australia.
He is a protege of Ford Chairman Alex Trotman. He is Ford's next president and CEO.
Nasser was instrumental in helping Trotman assemble the international team running Ford 2000, the automaker's global road map to the future.
Designer J. Mays and product development chief Richard Parry-Jones were among the executives recruited or promoted to blow the cobwebs out of the company's product development process and put Ford on its best financial footing in years.
Nasser used his degree in business studies from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology to land a job as a financial analyst at Ford of Australia in 1968. He was soon travelling to various Ford outposts in the Asia-Pacific region and South America.
In 1987, he was picked to oversee finance and administration for Autolatina, the holding company that then oversaw Ford and Volkswagen operations in Brazil and Argentina.
He returned to Australia in 1990 to help turn around the company's troubled Broadmeadows operations, and he became chairman of Ford of Europe in January 1993. Just over a year later, Trotman promoted him to group vice president of product development for all of Ford's automotive operations.
In 1996, he was overseeing all of Ford's automotive operations and serving as chairman of Ford of Europe. From this vantage point, Nasser found the talent Trotman needed for Ford 2000.