After a month of voting, readers of Fortune magazine have chosen Ford CEO Alan Mulally the Businessperson of the Year. Mulally was able to edge past tech chiefs like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Ev Williams of Twitter, and even Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. He was even chosen over other notable businessmen like Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke and Berkshire’s Warren Buffet.
Since leaving Boeing and coming to Ford in 2006, Mulally’s governance of the company has certainly been impressive. In 2008, the struggling automaker lost $14.6 billion and the stock price fell to just $1.80. In the wake of dramatic restructuring, extensive cost cutting, and after introducing a slew of exciting all-new products, Ford is now much stronger, and today the stock price is up to around $16. As the only Big Three automaker to avoid a government bailout, it’s also no surprise that Ad Age named Ford “Marketer of the Year” for its risky but ultimately wise maneuvering during desperate times.
Ford’s dramatic turnaround played a big role in Mulally’s victory. However, Ford’s ability to drive voters to the Fortune contest also played a role. More than half the votes came from users that were referred from Ford.com.
Weighing in on his victory, Mulally stated that, “everybody is so excited — our suppliers, storeowners, our employees and investors — because we’ve created a profitable, growing, exciting automobile company for Americans.”
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