But unlike Nasser, Reichardt’s track record also includes a long streak of improving profits and share prices from his tenure as chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo & Co., a major interstate bank based in San Francisco.
Reichardt, 70, led the bank from 1983 until he retired at the end of 1994. During his tenure, according to Ford Motor, the bank’s stock rose 1,668 percent, more than three times the increase for stocks overall.
In his new job at Ford, Reichardt oversees the automaker’s financial side. Reporting to Reichardt will be Martin Inglis, Ford’s CFO, and Don Winkler, chairman and CEO of Ford Financial Services, which includes Ford Motor Credit Co., the giant captive finance company.
High on Reichardt’s to-do list are the following:
Ford also will fall short on cutting costs by $1 billion for the year. After nine months, it has trimmed only $200 million, not counting Firestone-related costs.
Despite his 24 years at Wells Fargo, Reichardt is a veteran of Ford and Ford boardroom politics: He joined the Ford board in 1986. Even before his present assignment, he was a member of the powerful finance committee.
With his new appointment, Reichardt succeeds Bill Ford as finance committee chairman.
“He (Reichardt) knows the car business. He knows Ford’s business very well.
“He’s been an important part of their processes for a long, long time,” said Dick Schliesmann, the Wells Fargo executive vice president who runs the bank’s auto finance division.
Under Reichardt as chairman, the bank began a major push to expand its auto finance business nationwide, instead of confining itself to the West Coast.
“He has a reputation for being tough,” Schliesmann said. “But I have to say he’s the fairest man I ever met.”