Harold Arthur “Red” Poling, who was Ford’s CEO and chairman for 43 years, died Saturday, May 12th, at the age of 86.
“Red Poling was an extraordinary leader who had a profound impact on Ford Motor Company and everyone who worked with him,” Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. said. “With a list of accomplishments that span 43 years, including leading the company through a remarkable turnaround during the 1980sand 1990s, Red was respected by all for his leadership,his passion for being the low-cost producer and his genuine affinity for people.”
Poling served as Ford’s chairman and CEO from 1990 to 1993, and when he was put in charge of the company’s North American operations, Ford had only a lineup of V8 powered cars. Back in the 1980s he brought the company back on track after taking the harsh decision to close eight plants and eliminate thousands of jobs. Also back in the 1980s he delayed the introduction of an automatic transmission for the Escort and the introduction of the Taurus to solve some quality issues first. Poling was named vice-president of finance in Ford of Europe in 1972 and helped oversee construction for the assembly plant in Spain which was to produce the Ford Fiesta.