Ford Advisor Leet Departs For Private Equity


Kenneth H.M. Leet, the former Goldman Sachs mergers and acquisitions expert who has been advising Ford Motor Co. since last summer, is departing the company and joining private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

Leet was called into Ford last summer by Ford chairman Bill Ford, with the counsel of now former board member Robert Rubin, to explore asset sales and other scenarios for Ford that could involve an alliance with another automaker or going private. Neither an alliance nor going private seem to be scenarios on the table these days, though.

The only asset sale that’s come about since Leet has been on board is the proposed sale of luxury brand Aston Martin . Ford is believed to be considering the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover as well, but no final decision has been made. Ford has also war-gamed the sale of half of Ford Motor Credit, but has said it doesn’t plan to sell the financing arm.

Leet was brought in to Ford before Mr. Ford hired CEO Alan Mulally last September. Last week, Ford announced a plan to raise $18 billion through debt that is secured by company assets, including buildings, real estate, tooling, brands, and intellectual property. Ford has a plan to turn profitable by 2009.

Cerberus is a firm that currently has controlling stakes in businesses that include Sportwear International (Fila), Vanguard Car Rental Industries (Alamo and National), and Air Canada . The chairman of the firm is former Treasury Secretary John Snow. The firm also counts among its officers former Vice President Dan Quayle.

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Ford: Which Options are Best? by Jim Burt (8/28/2006)
Go private, sell brands, or sell Ford Credit? Nothing’s easy.


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