Bill Ford jokingly told an audience in Los Angeles last week that he was ordered "to stop associating with any known or suspected environmentalists" when he joined the family company in 1979 as a 22-year-old fresh out of Princeton.
"I was a Bolshevik, for sure," the grandson of Henry Ford said at the Milken Institute Global Conference, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Bill Ford, now Ford Motor Co.'s executive chairman, discussed his long support of environmental causes and the company's efforts to improve fuel efficiency.
"We've been around for 110 years, and most of those 110 years we were doing things the same way," he said, referring to the internal combustion engine and the basic configuration of passenger vehicles.
Now, he said, "We stand at the cusp" of major change.