WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump met with former Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally on Thursday afternoon, according to a spokesman for Trump’s transition team.
It’s unclear whether Mulally is being considered for a position in Trump’s cabinet or whether the meeting was one of the many Trump has had in recent weeks to gather advice on policy and other issues from business leaders and politicians.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller declined to describe the nature of the meeting, though he said “Mr. Mulally is certainly someone who knows a lot about trade issues and the economy and what we need to do get our manufacturing sector going again.”
After serving as head of the commercial aircraft business at Boeing Co., Mulally earned adulation for his time as Ford’s CEO from 2006-2014. He steered the company through the 2008 and 2009 collapse of new vehicle sales without a government bailout or a Chapter 11 reorganization, as was needed by General Motors and then-Chrysler.
He oversaw a massive restructuring of Ford to reinvigorate the automaker in part through better-aligned global operations and a crystallized focus on Ford and Lincoln cars and trucks, positioning the company to reap heady profits during the industry’s recovery.
Mulally joined the board of directors at Google after leaving Ford in 2014.
Trump vs. Ford
The meeting comes after Trump repeatedly singled out Ford on the campaign trail, vowing to impose a 35 percent tariff on any Mexico-built vehicles the automaker attempts to sell in the U.S.
The verbal attacks prompted CEO Mark Fields to write Trump a letter explaining the company’s business strategy. Later in the campaign as the attacks continued, Executive Chairman Bill Ford visited the billionaire businessman in New York.
Trump last month influenced Ford’s decision to keep production of its Lincoln MKC crossover in Louisville. The automaker has been planning to move production to Mexico after 2019.
Executives acknowledged they chose to keep building the MKC in the U.S. because of the president-elect’s proposed policies, along with lower-than-expected demand for the Ford Escape, which ultimately would have absorbed the MKC line in Louisville.