American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman
Granted unprecedented access to Ford’s top executives—including countless hours with CEO Alan Mulally—top-secret company documents, Bill Ford and the Ford family, former executives, labor leaders, and company directors, the Detroit News’ Bryce G. Hoffman delivers the yet untold story of Ford Motor Company’s epic turnaround under the leadership of Alan Mulally.
Narrative nonfiction at its vivid and colorful best, American Icon is the story of an astonishing comeback, and of an American triumph
At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered the Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dysfunctional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses.
In early 2010, when it was clear the company had pulled off one of the most amazing turnarounds in history, the Detroit News’ Bryce G. Hoffman sought out and was granted unprecedented access to Ford’s senior leaders, internal documents and company archives; the result is AMERICAN ICON: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company (Crown Business; March 13, 2012), the definitive account of what is already being heralded as one of the greatest turnarounds in business history.
Hoffman spent days in CEO Alan Mulally’s corner office atop Ford World Headquarters pouring over his personal notes and secret internal company documents, and countless hours in one-on-one interviews with Mulally, Executive Chairman Bill Ford—the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford—and with many of the automaker’s top executives. The result is not only a gripping, fly-on-the-wall narrative about an American automaker that saved itself while the rest of the industry went bankrupt and begged Washington for a bailout, but a valuable manual on how to transform an organization’s culture.
Based on more than one hundred interviews with players large and small, including not just Ford employees past and present, but union leaders, dealers, suppliers and government officials, American Icon records the rise, fall and rise again of Ford Motor Company with an emphasis on the period from 2006 to 2011 when CEO Alan Mulally bet the entire company on a make-or-break gamble that transformed Ford from the weakest of Detroit’s “Big Three”—a company crippled by a caustic corporate culture—into the most profitable automobile manufacturer in the world.
In AMERICAN ICON, Hoffman has captured the full scope of Mulally’s, a Detroit outsider, entre into Ford and complete transformation of its management, its cars, its public image, and its corporate culture—a culture noted for its backbiting, politics and personal vendettas. More than a radical simplification of Ford’s global product line-up, Mulally’s overhaul of internal business practices seemed downright subversive in an industry that celebrated power and privilege. But on January 28, 2011, when Ford posted a full-year profit of $6.6 billion for 2010, it was clear Mulally and his remolded, refocused team had not just saved an American icon; they had made Ford Motor Company the most profitable automaker in the world.
BRYCE G. HOFFMAN is an award-winning author and journalist with nearly two decades experience covering politics, business, technology and manufacturing. Since 2005, he has covered the automobile industry for the Detroit News—not only in the United States, but also in South America, Europe and Asia. His coverage has won numerous awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Associated Press (AP). He is also a three-time finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award. In addition to his work at the Detroit News, he has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, CNBC, and BBC Radio. Hoffman resides in Grand Blanc, Michigan.