Donald Petersen spent most of his career with Ford Motors, transforming the company into a powerhouse business that focused not only on products but also on people.
His inclusive management style and outward thinking led to a distinct change in the car manufacturer’s culture, and he steered the to record profits and greater standing within the automobile industry.
Donald Petersen- Cars Are About People Too!
Donald Petersen joined Ford in 1949 and quickly demonstrated that he had what it took to make a major difference in the company. As he worked on various projects, he realized the company needed to keep up with the times especially the change and growth in the latter half of the 20th century. Little did he realize he would be the one to help lead the charge.
He was offered the position of director in 1977; three years later he became both President and Chief Operation Officer. Peterson led the company with his unique management style that involved all employees on dynamic levels and fostered a true sense of cooperation within Ford’s ranks.
The result was a dramatic rise in car technology improvements as well as better morale and accomplishment within the company.
Peterson initiated a redesign of the Thunderbird and eventually made Ford (which had seen a slump in image and sales in the middle of the century) popular again. Its Taurus and Mercury Sable models were a big hit with families across America. Ford capitalized on its new energy by creating more streamlined and well-designed cars that met new car standards and consumer demands. By the time he left the company in 1990 (after having served as CEO for the last 10 years) Ford was massively successful again and a truly revitalized business.
The Donald Petersen Quick Bio
Full name: Donald Petersen
Company: Ford Motor Company
Key success traits: daring, analytical, confident, approachable
Saw a television program titled If Japan Can, Why Can’t We? which revolved around Toyota’s success as a car manufacturer and decided to talk to Toyota head W. Edwards Deming for ideas and inspiration on how to mold and change Ford for the better.