PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: Derrick Kuzak
Group vice president of product development, Ford Motor Co.
Soft-spoken product guru: Kuzak was ideally situated to lead a product revolution. Having spent several years heading product development at Ford of Europe, Kuzak, 58, was intimately familiar with the company's portfolio there. When gasoline prices soared two years ago and his boss, Alan Mulally, committed Ford to becoming a fuel economy leader, Kuzak knew he needed to look no further than Ford's European lineup to reinvent the North American portfolio. The European-designed Fiesta subcompact is on its way to dealerships, and the next-generation Focus comes next year. Added to the widely praised Fusion and Taurus, the smaller cars will complete the transformation of Ford's lineup from a hodgepodge of forgettable vehicles into one of the industry's most fuel-efficient, and visually coherent, fleets. Next challenge: a revolution at Lincoln.