Ford CEO boasts progress [??], chairman chided

Ford CEO boasts progress [??], chairman chided http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/10/news/companies/ford_shareholders.reut/index.htm?postversion 07051014
WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Alan Mulally said Thursday the automaker was making progress in its restructuring even as the company's chairman was chided by shareholders for not doing enough.
"We are not where we need to be, but we are making very good progress," Mulally told shareholders at the company's annual meeting.
Ford is attempting to engineer a turnaround from last year's record $12.6 billion loss and reinvent itself as a leaner and more flexible competitor.
"You will be pleased with what you see in the months and years ahead," Mulally said. U.S. auto sales fall sharply, Ford warns
But many of the 79 shareholders who attended the meeting expressed anger and opposed the reelection of Bill Ford Jr. to the board.
Sam Joanette, a Ford shareholder who said he lost $1 million in Ford stock, said Bill Ford Jr. was "responsible for the destruction of the company."
"You are a failure ... You are the worst chairman and CEO to ever lead the company," Joanette said.
Bill Ford, great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, has been chairman since 1999 and was chief executive officer from October 2001 to September 2006, when he hired Mulally for the top job. Ford family talks to Wall St. dealmakers, report
A total of eight shareholder proposals opposed by Ford Motor were voted down at the annual meeting, including the initiative to strip the founding Ford family of most of its voting power by converting Ford Class B stock to common stock.
The proposal has been rejected for three consecutive years, but received the highest number of votes in favor this year. About 27 percent of votes were cast in favor of the proposal, up from 23 percent last year and 25 percent in 2005.
The Class B shares give the founding family 40 percent voting power.
Bill Ford said investors are "attracted by long-term stability the Class B shareholders provide to the company."
Mulally told reporters after the meeting that Ford family members are "very, very supportive of the changes" the automaker is making. "They are shareholders; they believe in Ford and want Ford to be successful," he said.
Other proposals included one requiring Ford to set targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and another to produce a report on how the automaker is hurt by higher health care costs.
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