Edsel Ford, who for years ran the company’s annual Salute to Dealers program, turned over that role to his son last year.

“Our great company has been tested in many ways, not least of which it experienced in the past year, and I’m proud we have not only survived and thrived, but also held tight to the values and principles that make Ford a unique American icon,” Edsel Ford said in a statement. “I am especially pleased that as I step down from the board, a new generation of Ford family members is poised to continue this legacy of service.”

Lechleiter, 67, a former CEO of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, decided not to seek reelection after eight years on Ford’s board.

“John has been a terrific board member who cares deeply about the company,” Bill Ford said in a statement. “His experience as a CEO of a caring and successful global business and deep knowledge of science, regulatory frameworks, marketing and management has allowed him to make a significant contribution to our company.”

Ford English would be the fourth woman on the 14-member board. Bill Ford said that the company wants to continue diversifying its leadership. “It is something that’s very top of mind for us,” he said. “I can’t telegraph what’s to come, but if I were an observer I wouldn’t be surprised to see us address that in the near future.”



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