Bill Ford Jr. to Put Bonus into College Tuition Fund

March 19, 2004 ( - Ford Motor Co.'s chief executive, Bill Ford Jr., is literally putting his money where his mouth is.

The executive has decided to donate his first official bonus – worth about $1.5 million – to company employees for their children’s college tuition. In an e-mail, he thanked “the thousands of Ford employees in our extended family who’ve made our growing success possible,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

The money will come from the proceeds from 113,122 shares of company stock Ford will be eligible to cash in on March 12, 2005 – Ford’s official bonus since becoming CEO.

Although details have not been worked out, Ford said the money would be provided when the proceeds of the bonus are released. The automaker already offers tuition-assistance programs, which, over the last five years, have provided up to $1,500 a year to more than 25,000 dependents of Ford employees.

Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, had refused to accept a salary since taking the helm of the company in 2001.

The automaker reinstated “modest” bonuses to 6,200 executives worldwide last week after the company posted a profit of $495 million in 2003 (See Ford Jump Starts Bonuses, K Matches ). The bonuses were suspended after the company lost over $6 billion in 2001 and 2002. It also reinstated partial contributions to employee 401(k) accounts.

Bill Ford already owns 2.7 million shares of the company’s stock, contributing to his family’s 40% controlling interest in the company. Last year, he received 4.4 million stock options.