American Icon details ‘one of the greatest turnarounds in business history’, and, to a lesser extent, the man behind it. It makes for a fascinating read for anyone who follows the car industry; others may find the story engaging too, if a slog in places. — Read the complete FT review
At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dysfunctional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses. It was an extraordinary risk, but it was the only way the Ford family – America’s last great industrial dynasty – could hold on to their company.
Mulally and his team pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in business history. As the rest of Detroit collapsed, Ford went from the brink of bankruptcy to being the most profitable automaker in the world. American Icon is the compelling, behind-the-scenes account of that epic turnaround.
On the verge of collapse, Ford went outside the auto industry and recruited Mulally - the man who had already saved Boeing from the deathblow of 9/11 – to lead a sweeping restructuring of a company that had been unable to overcome decades of mismanagement and denial. Mulally applied the principles he developed at Boeing to streamline Ford’s inefficient operations, force its fractious executives to work together as a team, and spark a product renaissance in Dearborn. He also convinced the United Auto Workers to join his fight for the soul of American manufacturing.
Bryce Hoffman reveals the untold story of the covert meetings with UAW leaders that led to a game-changing contract, Bill Ford’s battle to hold the Ford family together when many were ready to cash in their stock and write off the company, and the secret alliance with Toyota and Honda that helped prop up the American automotive supply base.
In one of the great management narratives of our time, Hoffman puts the reader inside the boardroom as Mulally uses his celebrated Business Plan Review meetings to drive change and force Ford to deal with the painful realities of the American auto industry.
Hoffman was granted unprecedented access to Ford’s top executives and top-secret company documents. He spent countless hours with Alan Mulally, Bill Ford, the Ford family, former executives, labor leaders, and company directors. In the bestselling tradition of Too Big to Fail and The Big Short, American Icon is narrative nonfiction at its vivid and colorful best.