William Kennard named to Ford's board of directors

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. announced Friday the appointment of William E. Kennard to its board of directors, effective Jan. 1.

The 57-year-old Kennard will serve on the 16-person board's Nominating and Governance Committee, a group in charge of, among other things, determining the size, compensation and composition of the board.

In addition, Ford said 18-year veteran member Dr. Homer Neal will leave the board Dec. 31.

Kennard is the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union. He currently is chairman and co-founder of Velocitas Partners LLC, an asset management firm, and a member of the Operating Executive Board of Staple Street Capital, a private equity firm. He serves on the boards of directors of AT&T Inc., MetLife and Duke Energy Corporation.

"Bill has a wealth of experience, particularly in telecommunications, where he has spent years shaping policy and pioneering initiatives to improve the benefits of technology for consumers worldwide," Ford executive chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. "As we accelerate our work in the areas of in-car connectivity and mobility, his unique perspective will help guide our strategy and Blueprint for Mobility forward."

A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School, Kennard's career spans more than three decades in law, telecommunications and private equity.

He also has served on several boards in the fields of telecommunications and media, insurance and energy, as well as on the boards of various non-profit organizations. He currently serves as a Fellow of the Yale Corp. and is a member of Secretary of State John Kerry's Foreign Affairs Policy Board, according to Ford.

Neal will leave Ford's board at the end of the month after serving as chairman of the Sustainability Committee and a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee. He also served as a member of the board of managers of Ford Global Technologies, LLC, a wholly owned entity that manages the company's intellectual property.

Current board member Bill Helman will replace Neal as chairman of the Sustainability Committee.

"Homer's research and development knowledge and deep technical skill have proven to be extremely valuable to us, especially in helping to strengthen our sustainability vision and strategy over the years," Ford said in a statement. "We are grateful for his many contributions during his 18 years of service and we wish him all the best."

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