On Thursday, May 11th, Ford Motor Company held its annual shareholder meeting presided over by Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr. and CEO Alan Mulally. Leading up to the meeting, Ford’s top executives revealed their compensation packages, while Ford Motor Co. deals with $12.7 billion in losses in 2006, the largest loss in its 103-year history, laying offs of nearly 40,000 workers and have plans to close at least 16 plants by 2012. Of course, executives compensation packages were not addressed at the meeting.
Overall the meeting resulted in an overwhelming rejection of eight ballot proposals, including a plan to set goals for reducing total greenhouse gas emissions from the company’s products and operations and require the board to publish annual reports on global climate change.
Jennifer Krill and Nile Malloy, from Rainforest Action Network, spoke on behalf of the global warming proposal. Nile Malloy stated, “over the last couple of years Ford has spent millions convincing the public we are committed to the environment with the success of building the Hybrid Escape and Mercury Mariner yet we are suing Vermont, California and nine other states to prevent the regulation of pollution from tailpipes,” highlighting Ford’s hypocrisy in being “green”. “This really is a critical moral issue facing all of us on this earth,” said Sister Patricia Daly, executive director of the New Jersey-based Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment.
While many shareholders went on with ‘business as usual’ a few shareholders voiced their displeasure with the company’s leadership, including Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. “Mr. (Bill) Ford’s tenure at the CEO position should have never happened. Many in the automotive circles and on Wall Street accurately described him as ‘The reluctant CEO.’ Under his watch, Ford Motor Company is now half its size, still not profitable and with everything in the U.S. mortgaged on a $23.5-billion note, stated one shareholder”.
Another shareholder opposed Bill Ford Jr. re-election to the board and accused him of wrecking the company. “Bill Ford is Toyota’s No. 1 reason for success. Ford is in utter chaos,” said Linda Joanette of Clarkston, Mich.
While Mr. Ford took on the criticism of the company, Mulally ended the meeting with a speech on Ford’s turnaround plan to slow ford’s current financial woes. His plan includes, shedding thousands of more workers, closing more plants, making more SUVs and trucks; and receiving a cool
Is Ford moving in the right direction? Not if the turnaround plan means less jobs for our country and no clear commitments to greenhouse gas reductions and/or investing in cleaner vehicles. What do you think?