Ford chairman: No comment on Nasser's future

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. Chairman William Clay Ford Jr. declined to comment on Wednesday on recent reports that Chief Executive Officer Jacques Nasser may be pushed out by the end of the year.

"I don't want to get into that," Ford said when asked about the embattled Nasser's management of the world's second-largest automaker. "I'm not going to touch it," he said during after an inauguration of a child care center for employees.

Asked specifically about talk of senior management changes at Ford, the chairman said, "I haven't heard anything. Everything I say always winds up being a story."

Forbes magazine reported last week that Nasser has lost the confidence of the Ford family, which controls 40 percent of the board's voting power through its stock holdings, and he will probably be ousted by the end of the year.

Some senior Ford executives, including Chief Financial Officer Martin Inglis, have vigorously defended Nasser. "I think he's the leading CEO in the auto industry. He was before, he is today, and I think he will be in the future," Inglis said last week.

But some Wall Street analysts believe that Nasser will be gone within months, due to Ford's recent spate of quality problems, the Firestone tire recall and mounting losses which forced the automaker to cut its dividend for the first time since 1991.

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