LOS ANGELES -- The auto industry may be one of the last old-boy networks. But as Elena Ford sees it, success in the business has less to do with the old-boy part of the equation than it does with networking.
Parachuted in as the savior-designate of long-suffering Mercury Division, Ford acknowledges the potential she faces for passive-aggressive resistance and back-stabbing from other Ford Motor Co. managers. After all, she's young, she's a woman, and her family name is etched on everything from envelopes to the entranceway glass.
To pessimistic Ford Motor employees sick of the austerity regime, any one of those facts supply ample grist for the gossip mill. It wouldn't be the first time that grumbling about entitlement is heard in the automaker's back rooms.
"People can be skeptical, but once they get to know me, they'll know that I want to win for Ford Motor Co. and make Mercury succeed," Ford, 36, said in a recent interview at Ford Motor's gleaming new Premier Automotive Group headquarters in Irvine, Calif.