Ford urges family unity in Kerkorian bid

May 7, 2008 at 6:17 PM
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DEARBORN, Mich., May 7 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. wants family members to unite against a challenge to family control of the company, a Detroit newspaper said.

After billionaire Kirk Kerkorian made public his plan to become Ford's largest private shareholder, heirs of founder Henry Ford met Saturday near Dearborn, Mich., for their spring meeting, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.

Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally briefed several generations of Fords on the company's effort to turn around recent losses, outlined plans for new car and truck models and discussed Kerkorian's bid to acquire another 20 million shares of Ford stock -- in addition to the 100 million shares he already owns, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the meeting.

Family members said they were concerned that Kerkorian's plan might present the first serious challenge to family control of the company -- an issue that is likely to come up when shareholders meet Thursday in Wilmington, Del., the report said.

At Saturday's meeting, Ford urged family members to remain unified behind Mulally and the company's board of directors, the newspaper said.

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