With the retirement of Jim Padilla, Ford Motor Co. president and chief operating officer, set for July 1, the company has announced that he will not immediately be replaced as president and COO. Instead, Bill Ford, the automaker's chairman and chief executive officer, will head a six-person committee that will run the company. The “Ford Six” will be Bill Ford, Mark Fields, Anne Stevens, Lewis Booth, Mark Schulz and Don Leclair. Industry insiders say the move is significant because it puts into place Bill Ford’s hand-selected team for the turnaround. The Ford CEO recently took a 40 percent pay cut, part of his promise to take no salary, bonus or other awards until the automaker's automotive branch returns to profitability.
So while Bill goes hungry and GM sells off business units – last week’s GMAC sale for $14 billion being most notable -- Toyota is preparing to pass them all as the world’s largest automaker. Industry experts say that Toyota could do it in a year. According to the Washington Post, in fact, Toyota should post a record profit this year, after nearly doubling production and opening seven factories over the past five years. The Post claimed that Toyota’s success is due to a combination of efficiency, quality and…the Prius, which was in development for 20 years before it hit US shores on 2000. As a result, Toyota was at the right place at the right time, selling a fuel efficient vehicle when gas prices went up, while GM and Ford were still pouring money into SUV sales.