In his 40 years with Ford Motor Co., Donald Petersen worked on the team that created the 1955 Thunderbird, the original Mustang, F-series trucks and the Taurus - some of the most successful vehicles the industry has produced.
Petersen, 76, served in the Marines in World War II, earned an M.B.A. after the war and joined Ford in 1949 as a product planner. He worked in a number of senior management positions and became a member of the board of directors in 1977. In March 1980, Petersen was named president and COO. He became chairman and CEO in 1985 and retired in March 1990.
While at the helm, Petersen stressed teamwork and strove to end internal politics and fiefdoms.
He spoke with Richard Truett.