Incoming Ford CEO Jim Farley (left) and Ford Government Chairman Invoice Ford Jr. pose with a 2021 F-150 throughout an occasion Sept. 17, 2020 on the firm’s Michigan plant that produces the pickup.
Michael Wayland | CNBC
DETROIT – Ford Motor Chair Invoice Ford has been slowly amassing extra shares, and management, of the automaker his great-grandfather based in 1903.
In contrast to Elon Musk and different CEOs who’ve just lately cashed out a few of their firm inventory as costs soared, Ford has been doubling down on his namesake firm over the past decade.
The 64-year-old is the corporate’s greatest particular person shareholder with 2.3 million shares of Ford’s widespread inventory. Extra importantly, he is additionally the largest holder of the automaker’s Class B shares that carry super-voting powers which have allowed the Ford household to retain management of the corporate. Whereas the Class B shares account for two% of Ford’s excellent inventory, they management 40% of the voting energy.
Invoice Ford immediately owns 16.1 million, or 23%, of the Class B shares, that are solely out there to relations. That is quadruple the roughly 4 million, or 5.7%, he owned in 2012, based on FactSet.
From Satya Nadella at Microsoft to Jeff Bezos and Musk, CEOs, founders and different firm insiders have been cashing of their inventory on the highest tempo on file with $69 billion in inventory in 2021, as looming tax hikes and lofty share costs inspired many to take income.
Ford, whose stake has grown by way of his work as chair of the board, mentioned he is holding on to his shares due to his “large confidence” within the firm’s administration workforce, led by CEO Jim Farley, to ship on Farley’s Ford+ turnaround plan specializing in electrical and related autos. Invoice Ford obtained $16 million in whole compensation from Ford in 2020, which got here in a mixture of advantages, money and fairness awards.
Ford acquired 412,500 extra Class B shares final month which can be being held in a household belief. The transfer got here roughly every week after he acquired nearly 2 million widespread shares of the corporate by exercising inventory choices, a few of which have been set to run out.
As a substitute of cashing in on the $18 million in proceeds he would have gotten from exercising the choices like most executives do, Ford paid $20.5 million in money in addition to taxes on the good points to carry on to the shares.
“I simply really feel like we’re very nicely positioned to ship superior shareholder returns and I for one needed to be an enormous a part of that,” Ford advised CNBC. “I feel in some ways we now have a chance to create probably the most worth for shareholders because the scaling of the Mannequin T.”
In contrast to his predecessor, Farley has gained investor confidence since taking on the helm in October 2020. Shares of the automaker have surged by about 270% since then, sending its market value above $100 billion on Thursday for the first time ever. 2020 marked the first year since 2001 that Ford’s stock has topped $20 a share.
The stock closed Thursday at $25.02 a share, with the company’s market value at $99.99 billion. Ford’s now worth more than crosstown rival General Motors, which is valued at about $90 billion.
Under Farley’s Ford+ plan, the company is pivoting hard to EVs, including the Mustang Mach E and all-electric Ford F-150, as well as connected services to generate recurring revenue. The company expects an 8% adjusted profit margin before interest and taxes in 2023 — earlier than many analysts expected.
“The Mach-E and the Lightning, both their order banks just overwhelmed us,” Ford said. “We’re on this electrification journey, but it’s more than that. It’s connecting to the customer, it’s all the services that will be developed around electrification.”
Ford directly owns about 20.3 million shares, including restricted, common and Class B stock. The holdings, which may exclude some trusts, were worth more than $500 million as of Thursday’s closing price.
There are 71 million Class B shares worth about $1.8 billion held by descendants of company founder Henry Ford. The Ford family’s voting power diminishes once their Class B shares fall below about 60.8 million.
Some have criticized the dual-share system for unfairly allowing the family to retain control of the automaker. Ford has repeatedly defended the dual-share structure as allowing the automaker to concentrate more on the long term and not be another “nameless, faceless corporation.”
“I think it’s really important that the family legacy continue,” he said. “It gives us a face and maybe a humanity that a lot of other companies don’t have.”
The dual-class stock structure, which has been in place since the company went public in 1956, has faced numerous shareholder challenges. At last year’s shareholders meeting, 36.3% of voters supported a system that gave every share an equal vote, slightly higher than the 35.3% average since 2013.
Ford believes his stock ownership supports his defense of the family’s shares and voting power. Ford said he can’t remember, if ever, selling Ford shares in the open market. That doesn’t include exercising options, transferring shares to trusts or converting common shares to Class B stock.
“I’m in this for the long haul. This is my life and I love the company,” he said. “I really believe that we are headed for an incredible future.”
Correction: Henry Ford was Bill Ford’s great-grandfather. The headline on an earlier version misstated the relationship. Ford’s stock closed Thursday at $25.02. An earlier version misstated the day.