DETROIT — Hau Thai-Tang spent the final days of his nearly 35-year career at Ford Motor Co. in the same place where he got his first big break: Flat Rock Assembly Plant.
The automaker organized a sendoff for its chief industrial platforms officer, who announced his retirement in July, with workers building the Mustang sports car. Thai-Tang, 57, rose to prominence within Ford after becoming chief engineer of the fifth-generation Mustang that went into production in late 2004.
"It was a nice close-the-circle moment for me," Thai-Tang told Automotive News in his last interview before retirement. "I'm proud of the 2005 Mustang, but the current one is better, and the one we're going to launch is even better. It was a good reminder: The contributions you have on products, to the business results, the input you have on our work processes, all of those things are point-in-time; they're going to change. The only true sustainable legacy you'll have as a leader is your impact on people. That's been the nicest thing for me is to hear from all the employees I've had a chance to work with."