Mulally reportedly shaking up Ford
Newspaper says chief executive is bringing new management style and outlook to the troubled U.S. automaker.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Alan Mulally is already shaking up management practices at Ford, according to a report published Friday.
The Detroit News said that Mulally has implemented a standing Thursday meeting of his senior leadership team where he expects them to be ready to take action.
He's also cut the number of other executive meetings and is insisting on weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reviews to make sure the company's new turnaround plan announced a week ago stays on track.
Just over a week later the company announced new details of its restructuring plan, speeding up plans to close plants and adding to plants to the list of those to be closed.
It also followed the lead of competitor General Motors (Charts) and offered all of its employees represented by the United Auto Workers union retirement or severance packages worth up to $140,000 if they would leave the company.
Still, Ford, GM and the Chrysler Group unit of DaimlerChrysler (Charts) have been struggling with declining sales this year, as Asian competitors such as Toyota Motor (Charts) and Honda Motor (Charts) gained sales. Ford's new sales target for 2007 and beyond suggests it will trail Toyota in U.S. sales going forward.
Among the changes that the company has made, the paper reports, is being more consistent and honest with the sales numbers and projections for vehicles. Mulally told executives he wants everyone to use the same set of numbers, whether they are talking to Wall Street, dealers, employees or Ford's internal planners, according to the report.
Ford insiders told the paper that financial executives have traditionally had a broad say over the budget, including vehicle programs. That has spurred what some told the paper was a "culture of stretch," in which product-development executives overestimated sales volumes and revenues in order to get vehicle programs approved by finance.
Those unrealistic targets caused the company problems down the line, the paper reported.
"Now, we're being brutally honest," Cisco Codina, Ford's top sales executive, told the paper. "That's different from what we did a few months back."
Mulally also rejected a carefully nuanced response Ford's communications staff had prepared to questions about the possibility of selling the money-losing Jaguar brand. Mulally preferred a simple and direct statement: Ford has no current plans to sell the brand.
That was the response repeated by executives during the conference call with analysts and reporters.
The paper also reports the new boss is eating in the cafeteria of the company's Dearborn, Mich., headquarters, instead of the executive dining room and personally answering e-mail from employees.
And Mulally, who admitted to not owning a Ford when he was named CEO, has been driving every Ford model he can, the paper reported.