Henry Ford's heirs still control about
40 percent of the voting shares in Ford Motor Co. through ownership of extra-strength Class B stock, which represents more than 16.5 shareholder votes per share.
Protecting the family interest has been a priority since the company went public in 1956.
Today, Ford Motor Co. shares are divided as follows:
Common shares represent one shareholder vote each.
But Class B shares represent 16.557 shareholder votes each - a ratio that is re-calculated every year to keep Class B shares at approximately 40 percent of the shareholder vote, despite whatever splits, new issues or share buybacks have occurred.
As of April 18, 2003, Class B shares represented 1,173,097,822 out of 2,932,760,195 votes, or 40 percent of the total.
As of March 1, 2003, five people (see chart above) controlled about 65 percent of the Class B votes or nearly 26 percent of the Ford Motor Co. shareholder vote - effectively a veto over significant corporate decisions.
Some of the family shares, including several smaller individual holdings, vote together.
The trustees in charge of the family votes include CEO Bill Ford; his father, William Clay Ford Sr.; and his cousin Edsel Ford II.