DETROIT -- Alex Trotman, a retired
Ford Co. executives said they did not know the cause of death.
Mr. Trotman became chief executive in 1993, two years after Ford posted a then-record loss of $2.3 billion. He directed the 1995 launch of Ford 2000, a restructuring plan that included the consolidation of the Dearborn-based automaker's North American and European operations.
Under Ford 2000, the company cut $5 billion in costs by having more vehicles share major components and by negotiating lower prices with suppliers.
The result was one of the most prosperous periods in the company's history as Ford reined in costs and rode the popularity of pickups, sport utility vehicles, and other light trucks, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann
''The middle and the late '90s were tremendously successful" at Ford, Cole said. ''Alex was the leader of a very prosperous period for Ford. He was not a flashy guy. . . . He was a businessman through and through. He had a vision for the future."
In 1998, his last year as chairman, Ford earned $22 billion, more than triple the $6.9 billion it earned in 1997.
''Alex was a great friend, colleague, and leader of the extended family of Ford employees around the world," Ford chief executive William Ford Jr. said in a news release. ''He was the driving force behind a vast array of visionary changes in Ford Motor Co.'s global management and innovative products."
He retired after 43 years with Ford in a variety of positions throughout Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific.
Mr. Trotman was succeeded by Jacques Nasser as chief executive and by William Ford Jr. as chairman.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996 and acquired the title of Lord Trotman of Osmotherly in 1999.