From: Reuters
Published December 12, 2007 12:01 AM

Bill Ford says Mulally changing Ford's culture

By Poornima Gupta

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co.<F.N> Chief Executive Alan Mulally is a focused leader who has hit or exceeded targets set for turning around the U.S. automaker, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said on Tuesday.

"Look at the results, every quarter is better," Bill Ford said at a holiday party, assessing Mulally's tenure as CEO.

Mulally, a former Boeing Co <BA.N> executive, replaced the Ford family scion as chief executive of the automaker in September, 2006.

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The No.2 U.S. automaker last month posted a smaller-than-expected third-quarter net loss of $380 million, compared with a loss of $5.2 billion a year earlier when it took large restructuring charges.

Bill Ford praised Mulally for bringing a "sense of organizational discipline" to the automaker and changing the "divisive, silo, kind of behavior" at Ford.

The automaker has been often criticized for a corporate culture that is inward-looking, politically charged and risk averse.

Bill Ford said Mulally had made a lot of progress in cutting bureaucracy and bringing a unifying strategy at the automaker.

"(People are) clearly more focused," Bill Ford said. "The kind of meetings that Alan runs, there is no room to hide."

Soon after Mulally joined Ford, he set up a weekly Thursday meeting during which heads of the automaker's operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia share progress in their regions and find ways to share resources.

Top executives view the same details on each other's units simultaneously at these weekly meetings.

Bill Ford said Ford's culture is changing.

"Is it all the way there? No. But are we making progress? Yes," he said.

(Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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