Around here in the Metro Detroit area we've grown accustomed to the in-your-face style of WXYZ's investigative reporter Steve Wilson. The man may have cut his teeth down in the Miami area investigating Monsanto's growth hormones, but up here in Detroit, he's the man best known for asking some tough questions of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Wilson went after hizzoner on everything from alleged parties at Motown's Manoogian mansion, the official mayoral residence, to questioning why the Mayor needs a pimped-out red Lincoln Navigator. But now Wilson's turned his investigatin' eye towards the maker of said Navigator as he questions why FoMoCo's CWFO (Chief Way Forward Officer), Mark "Movie Star" Fields, is taking a private jet each weekend to Miami and back — at a round-trip price of more than $50,000. We do know it's...
...not for any sort of nefarious or extra-marital purpose — the man's family lives in Miami — but we do know it's certainly an expensive trip for the man to be making on a weekly basis. And since Fields is the man charged with making the "Bold Moves" necessary to create a "Way Forward" for FoMoCo — a man who's claiming
"We're changing our culture to adopt a change or die mentality that is rejecting business as usual."
it certainly sounds a lot like business as usual. That's especially truewhen Wilson explains,
"The 1,100 mile, 2-and-a-half hour, one-way trip from Detroit to Boca Raton in a Gulfstream-5...it's not cheap at $7,000 an hour but then, add in the costs of the crew and their weekend meals and lodging expenses at what is said to be a luxury Palm Beach area hotel, and then of course the costs to fly Fields back to Detroit Sunday night... can it be $70,000 a week or more?—it certainly can when the jet makes two trips to Florida, one to drop him off and another to go back and pick him up?
A Ford insider claims he's seen paperwork that says it's $50,000 a week but it's unclear what's not included in that number.
Ford refuses to confirm or deny a figure, but it certainly could be the cost of one worker's job every week Fields flies home. "
Now, we realize it's important to retain good executives, and yes, Fields is the guy who helped to turn Mazda around, but when Wilson equates each trip to one job loss — and despite it being in his contract — it certainly sounds like an expensive way forward to spend the weekend when the man could just fly first class and save the company $47,000 per round trip — $48,000 if he uses Expedia.
I'm kind of wondering how many more of these kind of hits Fields can take and still keep his job with FoMoCo now under the leadership of new CEO Alan Mulally. Since Anne Stevens and Steve Hamp now gone — Fields and Don "cream puff" LeClair are the only major Big Bill Boss holdovers left.
Happy Trails, Mark Fields: FoMoCo To Ride Current Product Plans Into Sunset Or 2008, Whichever Comes First; Alan Mulally Don't Need No Museum Directors: Steve Hamp Out As Ford Chief Of Staff [internal]