Car Guy Steers Finance

In November 2008, Lewis Booth, chairman of Ford of Europe, had just wound up the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover and started work on the possible divestiture of Volvo. Instead of heading off for a vacation, Booth locked up his London home and caught a flight to Detroit to move into the CFO's office at Ford at a time when the auto industry looked as if it might be going under. Ford still had cash, but it had treacherous financial waters to navigate. And Booth, who had spent nearly his whole career with

Ford, was not really a finance skipper. He was a car guy. But he knew Ford was fighting for its life, and he didn't want to watch from a safe distance. "This has been–and still is–a fight for survival, not just for Ford, not just for the auto industry, but for industrial America," he says. "We bring so much to the American economy. We're responsible for driving a great deal of industrial innovation." The stakes, he insists, are very high. "It's been a traumatic experience for us and our competitors and our suppliers. A lot of companies have gone out of business. A lot of people have lost jobs.

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