Former Ford CEO and chairman Philip Caldwell dies at 93

Article by Anita Panait, on July 12, 2013

Philip Caldwell, the first non-family member chief executive of Ford Motor Co., died on July 10, 2013, from complications to stroke at his home in New Canaan, Connecticut. He was 93. Caldwell was promoted as president of Ford in 1978, replacing Lee Iacocca who was fired by then chairman Henry Ford II, also known as "Hank the Deuce."

He was then picked by Henry Ford II as the carmaker's CEO in 1979. He also succeeded Henry Ford II as the company chairman in 1980. According to a New York Times profile in 1979, Caldwell's close relationship with Henry Ford II earned him the nickname "The Prince" inside the company.

Paul Ingrassia and Joseph B. White in their 1994 book "The Comeback: The Fall and Rise of the American Automobile Industry" that Caldwell was "remarkably cool and resolute in a crisis." They described him as having enormous analytical skills and the determination" to examine problems from every conceivable angle.

As Ford president and then CEO, Caldwell led Ford in enduring nearly $3.3 billion of losses during two recessions in the United States from 1980 through 1982 as well as worries over the design and safety of its Pinto model.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement that Caldwell had "a remarkable impact at Ford Motor Company over a span of more than 30 years." He said that Caldwell helped guide Ford through a difficult turnaround in the 1980s and lead the introductions of ground-breaking products around the world.

“Philip Caldwell had a remarkable impact at Ford Motor Company over a span of more than 30 years. Serving as CEO and later as Chairman of the Board of Directors, he helped guide the company through a difficult turnaround in the 1980s and drove the introductions of ground-breaking products around the globe. His dedication and relentless passion for quality always will be hallmarks of his legacy at Ford. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company. [source: Ford]

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