One of the guys who helped Ford Motor Company through some hard times has passed on. Former CEO and Ford Chairman, Harold “Red” Poling has helped Ford turnaround during two recessions.
In 1951 Poling joined the Ford team as a cost analyst after completing an internship at Ford’s steel division. Twenty one years later in 1972, he climbed the corporate ladder and was named the vice president over Ford Europe, overseeing the development of a new factory in Spain used to build the first ever Fiesta.
In 1980 Poling came back to the states to head Ford’s North American operations. However, he came over as Ford suffered a $2 billion dollar loss. The inevitable came as Ford slashed jobs, closed down factories, and cut back on product. With Poling now in charge, he was able to make Ford a profit in 1983. He made sure vehicle quality was beyond par and even kept the Escort from being released due to automatic transmission issues.
Poling pushed really hard for the Ford Taurus, wanting a front-wheel-drive layout and holding back the release nine months to attend to quality problems. As you know, the Ford Taurus is still running strong today and obviously the $3 billion dollar Taurus program paid for itself. Poling was a Ford Chairman and CEO from 1990 until 1993 when he retired. Ford has lost someone special, someone that has helped pave the company into what it is today, making them money just a few years after they had almost lost it all.