Ross Roberts, who will retire from Ford Motor Co. on Dec. 31, is the last of a Golden Age of super-strong divisional general managers. Forget Roberts' current job as head of factory stores. Think of him as the guy who put Ford Division firmly in the driver's seat.
When he took over in 1991, Ford had lost the car sales lead it had wrested from Chevy in 1988. Ford was back on top in 1992 and has stayed there.
In trucks, Ford beat Chevy by 163,000 sales in 1991; in 1998, the lead was nearly 700,000. Roberts knows dealers. He also introduced a string of light trucks that kept Ford on the move. He did the job for Ford.