Skip to Content
MIT News magazine

Alan Mulally, SM ’82

Driving Ford’s renaissance

No wonder Alan Mulally is being credited with turning around the Ford Motor Company. Since he became president and CEO in September 2006, he’s shaped a strategy that raised $23.5 billion in equity just before the credit markets collapsed. That money allowed Mulally to create what he calls “a viable, exciting, and profitable Ford”–while turning down federal bailout funds. The revitalized company returned to profitability during the third quarter of 2009.

Time, Barron’s, Aviation Week, and BusinessWeek have all lauded Mulally’s leadership, not only at Ford but also at his previous company, Boeing. He has been called on to advise NASA and the U.S. Air Force and served as president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Yet he points to his family first when considering his greatest achievements. “I’m very proud and thrilled to be married to Nicki for 40 years and to be the father of five wonderful kids,” he says.

His 37 years at Boeing culminated in posts as president and then CEO of the commercial airplanes business unit. He also served as president of Boeing Information, Space, and Defense Systems and as senior vice president of Boeing. “I had the opportunity to influence every Boeing airplane,” he says. “By getting people together around the world, Boeing contributes to developing a peaceful world. Now I have a chance to expand on Henry Ford’s vision to open up the highways to all mankind.”

Mulally earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering at the University of Kansas in 1968 and ‘69. He attended MIT as a Sloan fellow, moving his family to Needham, MA, while he earned a management degree. “MIT gave me fantastic experiences culturally and professionally,” he says. “I met business leaders from around the world at MIT. The Institute is so committed to technical and business excellence, and it also offers this wide window to the world.”

Today Mulally is increasing Ford’s emphasis on producing small and medium-sized vehicles instead of SUVs and trucks. “We’re democratizing technology, bringing fuel efficiency to everyone,” he says. The company is growing quickly in China and adding dealerships across the Asia-Pacific region and in Europe.

Mulally lives just three miles from his office in Dearborn, MI. He says his favorite activities include “reading, hanging out with my family, and visiting Ford dealerships.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.