DETROIT — A fifth generation of the Ford family has joined the company's board of directors.
Alexandra Ford English, daughter of Executive Chairman Bill Ford, and Henry Ford III, son of Edsel Ford II, on Thursday were voted into two open board positions vacated by the retiring Edsel Ford and John Lechleiter at the company's 66th annual meeting of shareholders.
The company said each of the 14 director nominees received at least 91.5 percent "yes" votes.
"Ford is not a nameless, faceless corporation," Bill Ford said in response to a shareholder question about his daughter and nephew. "I think having the family involved gives humanity and a sense of accountability that we're going to be here through thick and thin, through the best of times and the worst of times. Throughout just about every imaginable challenge over the last 118 years — we've had world wars, depressions, recessions, pandemics — the one constant has been our family."
Ford English, 33, joined her family's company in 2017, working as director of market and operations for Ford Autonomous Vehicles. She currently is a director in corporate strategy and sits on the board of electric automaker Rivian. Henry Ford, 40, has been with the company since 2006 in a variety of roles, including labor relations, purchasing, and marketing for Ford Performance. He currently is a director in Ford investor relations.
The annual meeting, held virtually, comes less than a week before the company unveils its F-150 Lightning electric pickup. Ford CEO Jim Farley said it's "the best of Ford" and promised to continue the automaker's strategy of electrifying its most iconic nameplates.
Farley also addressed the worsening semiconductor shortage, which Ford expects will cost it $2.5 billion and 1.1 million units of production this year, saying the company is considering building a buffer supply of chips and signing supply deals directly with the foundries to avoid a crisis in the future.
Bill Ford fielded a number of shareholder questions about the company's financial performance, saying the company plans to reinstate a dividend "as soon as possible" and noting the long-languishing stock price has been "on a bit of a roll" the past year.
Among voting proposals, the company said 63.7 percent of voters rejected an annual request to remove the Ford family's special class of shares, down from 64.9 percent last year.