Retired CEO and President of Ford Motor Company
Alan Mulally served as president and chief executive officer of the Ford Motor Company and as a member of Ford’s board of directors from 2006 to 2014.
Mulally led Ford’s transformation into one of the world’s leading automobile companies and the No. 1 automobile brand in the United States. He guided Ford in working together on a compelling vision, comprehensive strategy and implementation of the One Ford plan to deliver profitable growth for all of the company’s stakeholders.
Prior to joining Ford, Mulally served as executive vice president of the Boeing Company, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and president of Bowing Information, Space and Defense Systems from 1969 to 2006.
Throughout his career, Mulally has been recognized for his contributions, industry leadership and service, including being named No.3 on Fortune’s “World’s Greatest Leaders,” of the 30 “World’s Best CEOs” by Barron’s magazine, one of “The World’s Most Influential People” by Time magazine, “Chief Executive of the Year” by Chief Executive magazine, and the Leader of the Future by the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute in 2006.
He was also honored with the American Society for Quality’s medal for excellence in executive leadership, the Automobile Executive the Year and the Thomas Edison Achievement Award. Mulally is a Museum of Flight Pathfinder and a member of the Automobile Hall of Fame.
Mulally previously served on President Obama’s United States Export Council. He served as co-chairman of the Washington Competitiveness Council and served on the advisory boards of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the University of Washington, the University of Kansas, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. Mulally has also served as president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and as chairman of the board of governors of the Aerospace Industries Association. Mulally is a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of England’s Royal Academy of Engineering.
Mulally currently serves on the board of directors of Google, Carbon 3D and the Mayo Clinic.
Mulally holds a Bachelor and Master of Science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Kansas, and a master’s in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alfred P. Sloan Fellow.
Why We Chose Him:
Marshall Goldsmith nominated Alan Mulally for us to honor him as a Social Capital CEO, a leader Marshall thinks so highly of that he asked Alan to write the forward to his book “Work Is Love Made Visible.”
Alan’s view of work, and his leadership style as CEO of a workplace, is married to the idea of service. “I’ve always loved serving, and work is service to me. And it was always about the people,” he says, explaining, “When you’re serving, you want to know how it’s going; you want to know what they think; you want to know what you can do to improve the environment and the culture about how we all work together.” So, he creates what he calls a “culture of love by design.”
Applying his engineering training in this people-centric direction, Alan says, “We actually design it.” It’s a working management system with five elements. “It was all about including everybody – I mean all the stakeholders – and they all know the vision, they all know the strategy, they all know the plan. And we’re all working together to turn the reds to yellows to greens and continually delivering value for everybody but also profitable growth, because you can’t help all the stakeholders if you’re not growing the business.”
His philosophy underlying his servant leadership style at Ford and earlier at Boeing he credits to his parents’ iteration and reiteration of words of guidance. “We didn’t have very many resources,” he relates. But wisdom and caring were never in short supply. “Remember to seek to understand before you seek to be understood.” “By working together with others, you are going to make a positive contribution to the moss people in your life.” And very succinctly, “To serve is to live.”
He took his servant leadership approach to Ford after Bill Ford recruited him to turn the company around from a $17-billion loss. Through a process in which he demonstrated his commitment to a culture change that encouraged transparency so as to solve problem – a stark variance from the more usual corporate practice of hiding problems so as to CYA – Alan secured buy-in from everyone and “we were well on our way to creating an exciting and viable profit going forward. And so, everything that we ran into, we all knew that if we used this working together -- and included everybody and we respected everybody and appreciated them and created this safe environment where they could share everything and be a part of the team instead of being all by themselves.” His point was that no matter what happened, the team would not only able to save Ford but also create an exciting and profit company going forward -- “delivering value for everybody.”
Providing dramatic validation for the value of respecting people as a way to do business, Alan demonstrated at Boeing and Ford that the way to turn around the company was to focus on the people. He was a leader in the Social Capital movement long before we put the name to it, and we are pleased to honor him for that leadership.
Tenure at Current Position
|Retired CEO and President of Ford Motor Company||President of Boeing Company|
|University of Kansas, Bachelor and Master of Science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, master’s in management|