David Thursfield: Hard-nosed cost cutter will advise Bill Ford.
He will advise Chairman Bill Ford on cost cutting, international strategy and manufacturing issues.
Thursfield spent 25 years at Ford. He was chief of international operations and global purchasing before retiring. He also had been chairman of Ford of Europe.
The two-year contract stipulates that Thursfield can't work for a competitor or say anything to disparage Ford, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The 58-year-old Englishman earned a reputation as a hard-nosed cost cutter whose abrasive style rubbed some parts suppliers the wrong way.
But his bosses appreciated his toughness, forged by three decades as a manufacturing executive. Thursfield was even known as Lacoste among some suppliers, a reference to the Lacoste alligator logo used by the fashion brand.
Thursfield's Team Value Management cost-cutting initiative was designed to get Ford working closely with suppliers to find cost savings. But many suppliers say the program requires them to make all the sacrifices.
Thursfield did get results. Team Value Management contributed half of the $3.20 billion in corporate cost reductions reported by Ford last year.
Thursfield, who cut a distinctive figure with his permanent tan and ever-present cigar, joined Ford in 1979 as plant manager of the Broadmeadows plant in Australia. Previously, he worked for British Leyland.