Philip Caldwell, Ford’s first CEO outside the Ford family, died Wednesday, July 10th, at his home.
Philip Caldwell died at the age of 93 of complications from a stroke. Caldwell was chosen by Henry Ford II to replace him and become Ford’s CEO in 1979, instead of Lee Iacocca, who was fired while he served as the automaker’s president a year before. In 1980 Caldwell was named chairman and during his 6-year helm he oversaw the introduction of the Taurus and helped the automaker pass through a tough industry-wide economic downturn.
“He helped guide the company through a difficult turnaround in the 1980s and drove the introductions of ground-breaking products around the globe,” said Ford Chairman Bill Ford.
In 1985 the automaker introduced the Taurus and the model was among the automaker’s best-selling vehicles in the 1990s. Caldwell always said that the key to the US automaker’s turnaround was improved vehicle quality.
“We put vehicles on the road which customers wanted to buy, and that’s why our market share is up.”
Caldwell was Ford’s director until 1990 and he retired after 32 years with the company. He started his automotive career in 1953 in engineering and purchasing, after serving as a civilian procurement executive for the Navy Department in Washington.