International Executives

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Patrick Hennessy (1898-1981)

Years at Ford Motor Company: 1920-1977
Major roles: Managing Director, Chair of Ford Motor Company, Ltd. (England), Chair Henry Ford and Son, Cork, Ireland

(image: Acc. 1790 box 30 Hennessy Scrapbook)


Hennessy’s career at Ford began when he started working in the foundry at the Cork, Ireland plant in 1920. He soon moved through the ranks to the blacksmith forge, machine shop, assembly line, and testing tractors until he was assigned to demonstrate tractors at the Ford estate farm. His ability soon had him transferred to the Trafford Park factory in Manchester, England where he worked in sales and soon became a roadman for the Irish territory. In 1923, he returned to the Cork plant as a sales representative and in 1924 became the Service Manager for the factory. In 1928, he played a key role in efficiently and cost effectively providing tractors and parts when a massive order came in for Russia via Dearborn. His handling of this situation impressed the company and in 1931 he was promoted to Purchase Manager for Ford of England, where he tightened up purchasing operations and saved the company money. In 1939, he was promoted to one of three General Managers of Ford of England under Percival Perry. In in 1940, Hennessy took a brief hiatus from Ford for a year to take charge of Material Supplies for the Ministry of Aircraft Production, for which work he was knighted in 1941. Hennessy returned to Dagenham to work for the remainder of the war. When the Ford plant unionized in 1944, Hennessy chaired the Joint Negotiating Committee to work with the union, a position he held until 1957. In 1945, he was made a director of Ford of England, soon being promoted to Managing Director in 1948 and Deputy Chairman in 1950. Under his leadership the company produced the first new models in almost 20 years, the Consul and Zephyr, and introduced the Ford diesel engine (the most inexpensive in its class) for the Fordson tractor, he was also heavily involved in styling. In 1953, Ford of England acquired their body builder, Briggs Motor Bodies, Ltd. and during the 1950s the company doubled their factory area and their production. In 1955, Hennessy was named Chairman of Henry Ford and Son, in Cork, Ireland and in 1956, was named Chairman of Ford of England. During this time the company launched the mid-range Cortina line in 1961, Transit van, D-series truck, and 105E Anglia. Hennesy began to scale back his duties, giving up his executive functions in 1963, and retiring as Chairman in 1968, though he continued to act as Chairman of Henry Ford and Son in Cork until 1977, and was a consultant to the company until his death in 1981.

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Gordon McGregor (1873-1922)

Years at Ford Motor Company: 1904-1922
Major roles: Head of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd.
(image: P.O.281 Acc.1660 box 140)

Gordon McGregor’s association with Ford Motor Company began in 1904 when he entered into an agreement with Henry Ford to assemble Ford vehicles in Canada and established Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. McGregor realized the popularity of Ford cars in Canada and also saw the chance to avoid high tariff fees by assembling vehicles in Canada instead of importing them. McGregor oversaw the building and operation of the Walkerville, Ontario plant where vehicles were assembled on chassis sent from Detroit with Canadian-made bodies. By 1906, Ford of Canada was producing for the domestic market as well as exporting vehicles to India, Malaya, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Over 1910-1913 McGregor expanded plant facilities, installed a power conveyer, and upped production, eventually manufacturing more and more components at the Walkerville factory. During WWI, McGregor followed Henry Ford’s refusal to produce for the war effort due to his pacifist views, though these were quite unpopular in Canada. The Walkerville plant did continue to produce standard cars, trucks, and ambulances, and contributed to the war effort by exporting these to countries overseas. Eventually when Ford began to manufacture for the war effort after the US entered the war, the Walkerville plant manufactured some parts for the Detroit factory’s war work. After the war, McGregor worked to get the plant back up to full capacity, increased wages, and set up an employee welfare and housing fund. After a short illness, McGregor passed away in 1922 and was succeeded by Wallace Campbell.

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Percival Perry (1878-1956)

Years at Ford Motor Company: 1908-1919, 1928-1948
Major roles: Head of Ford Motor Company, Ltd. (England)
(image: P.O.5412 Acc.1660 box 140)

Perry’s association with Ford Motor Company started when he began selling Ford’s through American Motor Car Company in 1904. Perry left the enterprise a few years later but saw the demand for Ford vehicles in England was great and made a trip over to America to discuss the matter with Henry Ford. By 1909, Perry was in charge of the Ford branch in London, England, overseeing 60 dealerships. In 1911, Ford Motor Company, Ltd. was established and Perry opened the Ford plant in Trafford Park in Manchester assembling Ford vehicles. Over the years up to WWI, Perry worked to expand the plant and its operations and also pushed to raise wages resulting in better production and a higher standard of living for his employees. During WWI, Perry played a key role in convincing Henry Ford to build tractors for the British to help alleviate wartime food shortages, manufactured ambulances and other war related products, and was also instrumental in establishing the Ford plant in Cork, Ireland. After the war, Perry had plans to expand Ford operations and build a new waterfront plant in Southampton, these plans were not accepted by Ford and Perry resigned. In 1928, Ford planned to consolidate European operations under Ford of England and asked Perry to rejoin the company and head this effort, which Perry accepted. A year later, Perry oversaw construction of the Dagenham plant which went into operation in 1931. During WWII, Perry headed the English Ford plant and company through aerial bombings, worker and material shortages, and wartime production. Perry retired from the company in 1948.


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  • Last Updated Mar 27, 2024
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