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Philip Caldwell

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Philip Caldwell
Caldwell in 1981
Born(1920-01-27)January 27, 1920
DiedJuly 10, 2013(2013-07-10) (aged 93)
Alma mater
OccupationAutomobile industry executive
EmployerFord Motor Company
AwardsAutomotive Hall of Fame

Philip Caldwell (January 27, 1920 – July 10, 2013) was the first person to run the Ford Motor Company (after John S. Gray) who was not a member of the Ford family. He orchestrated one of the most dramatically successful turnarounds in business history.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Caldwell was born in Bourneville, Ohio, the son of Robert Clyde Caldwell (1882 – 1935), a farmer, and Wilhelmina Hemphill (1881 – 1966).[3] He grew up in South Charleston, Ohio, and graduated from Southeastern High School.[4] Caldwell was of English ancestry.[5]

Caldwell was a 1940 graduate of Muskingum College where he majored in economics and was a member of the school's debate team.[6] In 1942, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School.[6]


He served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant during World War II.[1]

Starting at Ford in 1953, he successively headed truck operations, the Philco division, and international operations;[7] in the last of these positions he introduced the Ford Fiesta into Europe.

Following the firing of Lee Iacocca in July 1978, Caldwell became president of Ford Motor Company on October 16, 1978.[7][8] On October 1, 1979, Henry Ford II retired as CEO[9] and as Chairman of the Board of Directors on March 13, 1980; Caldwell succeeded him in each position.[10][11]

As Chairman of the Board and CEO, Caldwell approved and oversaw the development and launch of the Ford Taurus (and its corporate sister the Mercury Sable) which were introduced to the media days before his retirement,[12] thus allowing him to take public credit for the Taurus program, which became one of the biggest successes in automobile business history.[13] On February 1, 1985, Caldwell retired from Ford,[14] He later accepted a position as senior managing director at Shearson Lehman Brothers in New York.[15] On September 23, 1985, he was one of 21 new members appointed to the President's Export Council.[3] He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1990.[1][16]


Caldwell died at his home in New Canaan, Connecticut, on July 10, 2013, at the age of 93.[1][2]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Philip Caldwell Obituary" (docx). Automotive News. July 11, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Philip Caldwell Is Dead at 93; First Nonfamily Member to Head Ford". New York Times. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Appointment of 21 Members of the President's Export Council". Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  4. ^ "Southeastern grad who ran Ford dies". Springfield News-Sun. Springfield, Ohio. July 15, 2013. p. B4. Retrieved February 14, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Business: In the Drivers' Seats". Time. 8 September 1980. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Philip and Betsey Caldwell Hall dedicated on October 22 as a part of Muskingum College Homecoming Weekend Festivities". Muskingum College. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Business: Ford's New Man". Time. 25 September 1978. Archived from the original on October 14, 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  8. ^ Brown, Terry (1978-09-15). "Philip Caldwell named president of Ford Co". Chicago Tribune. p. 76. Retrieved 2021-01-18 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Business: End of an Era at Ford". Time. 21 May 1979. Archived from the original on January 13, 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  10. ^ "100 Years of Ford History". Ford New Zealand. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Henry Ford II gives up chairmanship at Ford". Democrat and Chronicle. 1980-03-14. p. 7D. Retrieved 2021-01-18 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "FORD'S MR. TURNAROUND: WE HAVE MORE TO DO". Fortune Magazine. 4 March 1985. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  13. ^ Taub, Eric (November 1991). Taurus: The Making of the Car That Saved Ford. E. P. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-93372-7.
  14. ^ "Executive Suite: A Car Buff Takes the Wheel". Time. 12 November 1984. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  15. ^ "Philip Caldwell". Business Week. Archived from the original on 2012-10-13. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  16. ^ a b c "Philip Caldwell". Automotive Hall of Fame. 1990. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  17. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company
1979 – 1985
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Ford Motor Company
October 16, 1978 – March 13, 1980
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the Ford Motor Company
March 13, 1980 – 1985
Succeeded by