Friday 21st September 1945
Henry Ford II, grandson and namesake of Henry Ford, succeeded his father as president of the Ford Motor Company, inheriting a company that was losing money at the rate of several million dollars a month. After recovering from the shock of his father’s unexpected death, Henry Ford II was effectively given a crash course in management, but fortunately for the company, he turned out to have the magic touch. He quickly set about reorganising and modernizing the Ford Motor Company, firing the powerful Personnel Chief Harry Bennett, whose strong-arm tactics and anti-union stance had made Ford notorious for its bad labour relations. He also brought in new talent, including a group of former U.S. Air Force intelligence officers, among them Robert McNamara, who became known as the “Whiz Kids.” During his tenure as president, Henry Ford II nursed the Ford Motor Company back to health, greatly expanding its international operations and introducing two classic models, the Mustang and the Thunderbird.