Jewish News Notes Mark Fields' Historic Promotion as a Jew at Ford
In major business publications, Mark Fields' religion was not mentioned when it was recently announced that he would become Chief Operating Officer of Ford on Dec. 1, the number two post at the company.
But in the Jewish community, the significance of a Jew essentially running the 109-year old car company was not lost. Fields, 51, of Dearborn, is the likely replacement for CEO Alan Mulally when he steps down.
The Detroit Jewish News, in its latest edition, published a front page story entitled "Historic Promotion," noting the irony of Fields running a company founded by Henry Ford, an internationally renowned anti-semite who was admired by Adolph Hitler, and published a book "The International Jew."
In 1931, two years before becoming the German chancellor, Hitler told a Detroit News reporter: "I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration."
The Jewish News in its current edition wrote of Fields' rise in the company:
"Veteran observers of the automotive scene thought it could never happen. But it's a new era at Ford, an era that actually started when the elder Ford's grandson Henry Ford II, took over the company in the 1940s and launched his version of affirmative action."
Today, many Jews buy Fords. But there are still some who won't because of its founder's hatred of the Jews.
The 2010 documentary film "Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story " cited Ford's writing in 1920, in which he wrote: “If fans wish to know the trouble with American baseball they have it in three words—too much Jew.”
The Jewish News noted that Fields declined to be interviewed after the his latest promotion was announced, but said in another interview: "I have never encountered one iota of discrimination as a Jew during my career at Ford."
The paper also quoted Mervyn Manning, who became Ford's first Jewish vice president in 1977 and retired in 1992. He applauded Field's ascension.
"When I joined Ford in 1956 at the Ford Division in Dearborn, there was one African American in the building -- and he was the shoeshine man. Not only was I the first Jewish vice president, but I was the first minority VP of any kind, including women."