The company’s executive chairman, William C. Ford Jr., and its CEO, Alan R. Mulally, will get together with Kirk Kerkorian next week someplace in L.A., the NYT reports. Nothing dastardly is in the cards – the 91-year-old Bev Hills billionaire apparently will offer support for management and its turnaround strategy. Kerkorian, through his Tracinda Corp. investment vehicle, just snapped up 20 million shares of Ford stock, giving him a 5.6 percent stake. Anything over 5 percent makes you a major shareholder, which requires Kerkorian to disclose his investment plans. The Ford guys needs to be careful too.
The meeting comes as Ford faces setbacks in its turnaround plans after losing a combined $15.3 billion in 2006 and 2007. After reporting a surprising $100 million profit in the first quarter, Ford said last month that rising gasoline prices have crippled sales of its pickups and big sport utility vehicles and forced it to abandon its goal of full-year profitability by 2009. Instead, the automaker will slash production of its largest vehicles by up to 15 percent and boost its output of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers.