Ford Motor Company: Alan Mulally (CEO/Director/President)
In 2006, Alan Mulally took the helm of a sinking ship after several people turned down the role. While he did not seem to be the top pick, he immediately began effecting change through his “One Ford” initiative, a dramatic restructuring plan that included resizing, realignment, and the borrowing of over $20 billion. Highly criticized at the time, the plan paid off in 2008 when Ford was the only one of Detroit’s “Big 3” to avoid bankruptcy. Mulally continued resizing by selling off Jaguar and Land Rover to purify the Ford brand. Mulally was recognized for his success in 2009, when he made the Time “100” list and in 2011, as the success continued, when he was named CEO of the Year. Mulally guided Ford back into calm and profitable waters, and he is now abandoning ship to join Google. China’s auto market and growing domestic automaker Tesla will try to steal market share. Time will tell if Ford can maintain its newfound success after Mulally’s departure. Mulally now serves on Google’s Board of Directors and cited the company’s compelling vision as his main draw to the position, but we suspect Mulally just wanted to be able to drive in peace and perhaps upgrade to one of Google’s self-driving cars.