A rewarding screw-up…

August 6, 2004

Top executives who screw up, say by having their testimony before a US District Judge ruled internally inconsistent potentially costing the company big bucks may be shown the door. But they still wind up with a big fat consulting contract. That’s exactly what happened at Ford Motors (F) which announced back in April that David Thursfield, Ford’s president of international operations, would be “retiring” on May 1 as part of a management shakeup. While the company noted that Thursfield would serve as a consultant, it wasn’t until the Q filed yesterday that the company outlined the terms. Thursfield will be paid $1 million a year for the next two years as a consultant. While that’s considerably less than the $3.2 million he made in 2003, it’s not much less than the $1.3 million he made in 2002, when he was presumably working full-time. Last August, Thursfield was involved in a scuffle with Martin Leach, former head of Ford Europe after Thursfield claimed that Leach resigned from the company. Leach sued Ford, over its attempt to enforce a non-compete clause in his employment contract because it claimed Leach resigned. In January, Leach, who’s now head of Maserati, won, though it’s not clear how much the judgement was for.

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