Ford brings back former executive as chief financial officer

Monday, May 20th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. chairman and chief executive Bill Ford said Monday he lured Allan Gilmour out of retirement to become the automaker's new chief financial officer because ``he's helped us through tough times before and helped us to record profitability before.''

Speaking to reporters at the automaker's Dearborn headquarters, Ford said he was looking to Gilmour, a former vice chairman, for a ``combination of continuity and change.''

Gilmour said he and Ford kept in touch over the past few years, but when the chairman asked him to take the job he had to ask himself if he could contribute and if he really wanted to do it. He said the answer to both questions was ``yes.''

``Like a lot of people around here I do bleed Ford blue,'' said Gilmour.

Gilmour, 67, retired from Ford in 1995 after a 34-year career that included after serving as vice chairman and as a member of the office of the chief executive and the company's board of directors.

``I believe my experience and knowledge base are still relevant,'' he said.

He also served as president of the Ford Automotive Group, chief finance officer, controller and president of Ford Motor Credit during his stint at the automaker. Gilmour was twice passed over for CEO in favor of Harold ``Red'' Poling and Alex Trotman.

Following his retirement, Gilmour openly discussed his homosexuality and worked to raise money for gay and lesbian causes.

Born and raised in Barnet, Vt., he received a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University and a master of business administration from the University of Michigan.

Ford's new CFO says he'll retain ownership of a dual Ford-Chrysler dealership in Vermont and, unlike his counterparts at the other automakers, he's not opposed to incentives.

``Customers like incentives. I'm not going to spend my time saying this is something awful. We are going to be competitive everyday,'' said Gilmour.

Gilmour said Ford's biggest strength in its revitalization plan is its strong product line and that the company should do more to promote it.

Looking back at the automaker's offerings early in his first go-round with the company, Gilmour cracked ``I would have said that 20 years ago but I wouldn't have believed it.''

Bill Ford said he worked under Gilmour in the ``late 80's, early 90's'' and found him to be a demanding boss who was also a great teacher.

Gilmour replaces Martin Inglis, who has been appointed group vice president of business strategy.

Both moves are effective immediately, according to a Ford statement.

``Gilmour's appointment is clever in that it adds much needed experience right now, and gives the company time to groom a successor,'' said John Casesa, an analyst with Merrill Lynch & Co.

The automaker also announced the appointment of David Thursfield as group vice president of international operations and global purchasing effective Aug. 1.

He succeeds Carlos Mazzorin, who becomes senior advisor to the office of the chairman and chief executive.

Thursfield is currently group vice president and chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ford of Europe. He will retain his role as chairman and chief executive officer, Ford of Europe.

Martin Leach will be president and chief operating officer, Ford of Europe.

Derrick Kuzak has been elected a Ford Motor Co. vice president and will succeed Leach as vice president of product development, Ford of Europe.