The world of finance lost a legend this past October when former Ford Motor Co. CFO J. Edward Lundy died at the age of 92.
Lundy was one of the 10 “Whiz Kids” who were credited with pulling the auto company out of a 15-year profit slump after World War II, according to the Automotive Hall of Fame. The former Princeton professor joined the automaker in 1946 when it was losing $1 million a day, and ended up bringing accountability and discipline to the company, not to mention rewriting the rules of finance in the auto industry.
In fact, Lundy’s legacy lives on in Ford’s finance department in the form of “Lundyisms,” which promote the idea that everything should focus more on the message than the format. For example, he created a reporting format consisting of small tables, so the numbers wouldn’t bog down viewers. “They were developed for consistency, so a reader could focus on the content,” says Ford spokeswoman Becky Sanch.
Executive chairman Bill Ford called Lundy a “true pioneer in business and a celebrated figure in Ford Motor Co. history.” And with the troubled waters the company has seen of late, losing $12.6 billion last year alone, he may be wishing for his own team of Whiz Kids.