Charles Sorensen resigned as the vice president of the Ford Motor Company

Monday 13th March 1944

Charles Sorensen resigned as the vice president of the Ford Motor Company. Sorensen had been Henry Ford’s long time right-hand man for many years. Tall and handsome, Sorensen became a darling of the national press corps during World War II. He was in charge of Ford’s wartime production; and the Willow Run plant that produced B-24 Liberator bombers was Sorensen’s project. Originally, Ford had been contracted to produce subassemblies for United Aircraft, but Sorensen demanded that Ford be able to produce entire planes. He promised the government 500 planes per month, a figure nearly three times as great as United Aircraft’s production potential. In return, he was rewarded with a huge contract which included $200 million for the construction of the Willow Run facility. Willow Run, after a rocky beginning, became a heroic success story, a symbol of America’s role as the “great arsenal of democracy.” The plant eventually reached a production level of one bomber per hour. With Willow Run’s success came attention for Sorensen. In 1940, he appeared in Time and Newsweek, and in 1942, Fortune Magazine ran a long adulatory article entitled “Sorensen of the Rouge.” Sorensen himself admitted that his popularity may have caused his departure from Ford, “My ability to keep out of the public eye was one reason I stayed as long as I did at Ford while others left.” In 1943, Henry Ford promoted Harry Bennet, his long time labour enforcer, to a position above Sorensen. Realising that he had fallen from favour, the graceful Sorensen resigned from Ford.

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