Henry Ford II
- Category : Business-Entrepreneur
- Type : GP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Consciousness 3
American entrepreneur and noted family, the eldest son of Edsel Bryant Ford and grandson of industrial tycoon Henry Ford. When his dad died in 1943, he became Vice-president of the corporation and took over as Chairman of Ford Motor Company in 1945 when it was on the brink of bankruptcy and made it the top rank of industrial power.
An overweight bully as a child, Ford was dismissed from Yale in 1940 for plagiarism and returned to Detroit in a menial job at his grandfather's factory. Society headlines followed his prestigious marriage the same year to debutante Anne McDonnell from New York. Enlisting in the Navy soon afterward, he was assigned to Officer Candidate School and taught mathematics at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. After being promoted to the rank of lieutenant and soon to depart for sea duty, he received the news of the death of his father, Edsel, the Chairman of Ford.
Grandfather Henry resumed the company presidency at age 80 but could not meet the overwhelming demand of wartime government orders with his now out of date methods of production. Henry Ford II was discharged from the Navy on 8/01/1943 to assist his grandfather, who named him executive vice-president one year later. Reluctant to relinquish total control of his empire, Ford finally named his grandson Chairman of Ford Motor Company on 9/21/1945.
Henry Ford II proved himself as a capable administrator, modernizing plants and negotiating contracts with union labor leaders, whom his grandfather abhorred. Wildcat strikes abated immediately. When he took office, the company was losing about $10 million a month. New management teams eliminated all debt and showed $200,000 profit by the end of the following year. By 1953, Ford Motor Company moved back up to being number two in the automotive industry.
Ford had two daughters and a son with Anne McDowell, whom he divorced in 1965. His dependence on alcohol began to escalate. One year later he married Christina Vettore, who was described as "the most glamorous, sophisticated peasant in the world." Ford became the golden boy of the gossip columns, but Vettore couldn't cope with a husband who worked 60 plus hours a week.
In 1979 he stepped down from being C.E.O. of Ford, but did not relinquish the Chairmanship until 1980. Alcohol and the stress of being a corporate mogul began to deteriorate his health.
Ford's marriage to Christina ended in divorce in 1980. That same year he married former model Kathleen DuRoss. Residing in Palm Beach, Florida, the couple also owned homes in Grosse Point Farms and in England.
He was hospitalized with a heart condition in 1976, after which he made fewer public appearances and began spending more time in Europe. When he retired as President in April 1980, he said in a news interview that he had had all private and public papers destroyed, so no one could find out about his affairs and personal business.
He died of pneumonia on 9/29/1987.