Just how special was Nick Scheele, the late Jaguar CEO, Ford president and all-around good guy, to Bill Ford?
Ford missed seeing his Detroit Lions pull out a thrilling comeback 22-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 26 in London's Wembley Stadium. Though passionate about the family-owned football team, the Ford Motor Co. executive chairman feared he could not get back in time for Scheele's memorial service in Dearborn, Mich., the next day.
The affable Englishman helped Bill Ford in one of his darkest hours early in the last decade when the automaker was bleeding red ink in the aftermath of the tumultuous Jacques Nasser reign. Scheele, Ford's president and COO from 2001 to 2005, died July 18.
"Not only did Nick help us overcome many challenges at the time, he mended relationships with our dealers, our suppliers and our employees and set the stage for many of today's leaders who are moving us forward," Ford said to a gathering that included the Scheele family and many Ford luminaries past and present.
The speakers included Jim Padilla, onetime Ford COO who worked alongside Scheele, and Mike Dale, former president of Jaguar in the U.S.
Dale called Scheele "easily the best Jaguar leader we ever had, including the founder," Sir William Lyons.
Said Dale: "We lost a damn good man."