Ford shareholders praise Fields, fret about stock price

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Shareholders of Ford Motor Co. on Thursday again rejected a proposal to end the two-tier class system that allows the Ford family to control the company while owning a relatively small proportion of shares, but it got a record number of votes — 36.3 percent — up from 34.4 percent last year, and 33.4 percent the year before.

The Ford family holds a special class of stock worth about 40 percent of the voting shares, getting 16 votes per share. That gives the family effective control of the company.

Separately, shareholders approved 15 nominees for the automaker’s board of directors, along with compensation plans for its executives. They also voted down a proposal to hold special meetings between the annual shareholders meeting.

The 60th annual meeting — which took place in Wilmington, Delaware, and lasted just under an hour — was the first for new President and CEO Mark Fields.

Bill Ford Jr., Ford’s executive chairman, praised Fields for the smooth transition from Alan Mulally last year.

“The team didn’t miss a beat,” Ford said.

Among the shareholder comments of praise and adulation for Fields and the company, Roger Heymann, a shareholder from Rockville, Maryland, voiced concern over the company’s stock price.

Ford responded by saying he checks the stock price daily, if not hourly.

“We’re on track for a very good year,” he said. “I believe the stock price will take care of itself.”

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