William Clay Ford turns 80 on Monday, March 14. There are no plans to replace him on the board, a Ford spokesman said Wednesday.
The retiring director is owner of the Detroit Lions football team and is the last surviving grandson of company founder Henry Ford. His brother, Henry Ford II, ran the automaker from 1945 to 1980.
William Clay Ford joined the Ford board of directors in 1948. He took a job with the automaker the next year, the start of a 40-year career that ended with his retirement in 1989. He spent much of that time in planning and strategy roles.
He is credited with a major role in the design and development of the Continental Mark II. He was made general manager of the Continental Division in 1954, a post he held for two years.
On the board of directors, William Clay Ford has long been a member of the powerful Finance Committee. He was chairman of the committee from 1987 through 1995. The Finance Committee decides how the automaker spends it money, giving it control over which product programs are approved.
William Clay Ford is one of three Ford family members on the automaker's board. The other two are his son and Edsel Ford II.
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