According to Bloomberg, Mark Fields — mullet enthusiast, Ford Motor Company's then and current president of the Americas, and reportedly a leading candidate to succeed Alan Mulally as CEO of the automaker — nearly got into a fistfight with the car company's former CFO over a marketing budget and had to be restrained by Bill Ford, the then CEO. The story shows yet another reason to love the fiery Fields. Here's what happened.
Apparently, as reported this morning by Bloomberg's Keith Naughton from a new book about Ford — in July 2006, as SUV and truck sales were collapsing and Ford was swirling down the toilet that would eventually lead them to mortgage the entire automaker ahead of the global economic downturn's credit crunch, the C suite execs met at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, MI to figure out what the hell they were going to do next.
Don Leclair, then Ford's chief financial officer, insisted at the meeting that Fields cut the budget for the absolutely horrific "Bold Moves" ad campaign because there was "no other alternative."
Supposedly, according to the book's author, the single-sourced conversation ahead of the altercation went like this:
Fields: When you run the fucking business, you can do it. But you don't run
it. You're the CFO. So, I'll take your counsel, but that's it.
Leclair You're going to do this!
Fields: (leaping out of his chair) I'm tired of this bullshit!
Fields was supposedly "halfway across the table" when Bill Ford, then the automaker's CEO, grabbed and restrained him. "Cut it out," Ford reportedly said — likely in the loudest voice he could muster.
Although, to be fair, Chief Marketing Officer Jim Farley's got some serious stones as well. As an added bonus, he'd like to take a bat to Chevy.
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