By Jeff Gilbert

DEARBORN (WWJ) – The first non family member to lead the Ford Motor Company has died.

Philip Caldwell was 93. He died at his Connecticut home on Wednesday.

“Philip Caldwell had a remarkable impact at Ford Motor Company over a span of more than 30 years,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “Serving as CEO and later as Chairman of the Board of Directors, he helped guide the company through a difficult turnaround in the 1980s and drove the introductions of ground-breaking products around the globe.”

Caldwell served as Ford CEO from 1979 to 1985, which were very difficult years for the auto industry. He was with the company for a total of 37 years.

Caldwell was also known as the man who got the job that Lee Iacocca wanted. When Henry Ford II, ousted Iacocca in the late seventies, Caldwell–who had a low public profile–was put on a track to eventually take the top job, when Ford was ready to step down.

Even after his retirement, Caldwell remained active. He served on a number of corporate boards, and remained on Ford’s board of directors for five years after his retirement.

He was also the Ford CEO that gave the green light to the very popular Taurus mid-size car.

Bill Ford says Caldwell’s legacy will carry on for years to come.

“His dedication and relentless passion for quality always will be hallmarks of his legacy at Ford. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

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