2000: Jacques Nasser
President and CEO of Ford Motor Company
In our words: “His support among the writers and editors of our magazine was unanimous and enthusiastic…we like the guy. We keep running into him at all manner of automotive events, and his enthusiasm on these occasions is palpable.”
In his own words: “There is a distribution revolution going on around the world, not only in the U.S., and it’s being driven by several factors. Technology’s changing. Communications are changing. People know more about the products, about pricing…and, finally, consumers and manufacturers are changing. There’s a lot more transparency about the products, delivery process, and cost structures. These trends are very healthy.”
What happened next: We said this back in 2000: “The Volvo S80 platform could become the much-needed and long-awaited new platform for the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. At the same time, the Ford Focus platform could be the basis for a new compact Volvo that would have been too expensive for an independent Volvo to develop and bring to market.” For all of Nasser’s public shortcomings, those predictions came true as Nasser’s plans came to fruition: the excellent Focus-based Volvo C30 finishes its product run this year, and that S80 platform has gone on to underpin such varied cars as the Ford Taurus, Flex, and Explorer, and the Lincoln MKS and MKT.
That’s not necessarily enough to make up, however, for the fact that Nasser presided over Ford as it was embroiled in a scandal involving rollover-prone Ford Explorers and faulty Firestone tires. Nasser was reportedly forced out of the company in 2001.