By Keith Crain, Crain News Service
DETROIT (May 8, 2014) — Alan Mulally had just gotten his job as Ford Motor Co.'s top executive, and the Ford folks brought him around to Automotive News, a publication he probably had never heard of or seen.
I knew he didn't know anything about the car business yet, but I wanted to hear his style and learn something, so we started talking about airplanes. This was a guy who was used to selling airplanes to kings and presidents of countries for hundreds of millions of dollars.
It didn't take me long to realize that this might be the world's best salesman. A simple guy from the Midwest who could sell hundred-million dollar airplanes. I liked him immediately.
He saved Ford—a legacy that he earned along with quite a bit of compensation. He was worth every nickel and then some.
Most important, he wove his magic with the employees at Ford. Infighting was gone; everyone worked together.