Alex Trotman

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Alex Trotman(July 22, 1933 - April 26, 2005) was a Scottish born head of the Ford Motor Company. He was knighted in 1996 and created a Life Peer in 1999.

Early life and career

According to an obituary in the Daily Telegraph:

Alexander James Trotman was born at Isleworth on July 22 1933, the son of an upholsterer, and brought up in Edinburgh, where he attended Boroughmuir High School. After National Service in the RAF as a navigator, he joined Ford at Dagenham as a trainee in the purchasing department and was given the task of chasing deliveries of radiators for the Consul model.He went on to be chief product analyst on a new car project codenamed "Archbishop" -- which emerged in 1962 as the hugely successful Cortina, of which more than three million were eventually sold. This marked him for promotion, and in 1967 he was appointed the first product planning director of Ford of Europe, which had been created chiefly to co-ordinate the previously disparate activities of the group's British and German factories.Trotman was ambitious to gain experience at Dearborn and agitated for a posting there -- but when he was offered one in 1969, it was at less than his British salary, and he had to buy his own ticket across the Atlantic. He took the risk and continued his rise, becoming chief car planning manager in 1975 and returning as vice-president of truck operations for Europe in 1979.Four years later he was posted as president of the Asia Pacific region in Melbourne, where he took on the Japanese competition and made Ford the Australian market leader. He became chairman of Ford of Europe in 1988, and applied his skills to bringing productivity at Dagenham and Halewood up to the level of their sister factories in Germany.During the 1990s he was also a director of IBM and the New York Stock Exchange. After returning to Britain he was president of the Hakluyt Foundation, which provides intelligence on foreign markets for corporate clients, and led a review of conditions for small businesses at the behest of Gordon Brown. Trotman's understanding of car-making enabled him, as a hobby, to build a replica of the GT40, the classic Ford sports car which competed at Le Mans in the 1960s. He described himself as "a North Atlantic person", holding dual American and British nationality but retaining traces of a Scottish accent.[1]

In July 1999 Lord Trotman was asked by Gordon Brown to review measures to help the small business sector. This was how it was officially put in a Treasury press release: 'A review of the measures to support SMEs and entrepreneurs and what further incentives could help a thriving small business sector in Britain has been announced today by the Chancellor Gordon Brown.'[2] The Financial Times added a perspective, writing: 'Lord Trotman was recently asked by the government to review Labour's policies to support small and medium-size businesses.'[3]



  1. ^ Obituary of Lord Trotman British industrialist who restored the Ford Motor Company to profitability in the 1990s and saved production of the Ford Mustang, The Daily Telegraph, May 03, 2005
  2. ^GORDON BROWN CHAMPIONS THE RISK TAKERS AND ENTREPRENEURS Lord Trotman to Review Measures to Help the Small Business Sector, Treasury News Release, 2 July 1999
  3. ^ Lord Trotman and Sir William Purves join Hakluyt, Financial Times, September 13, 1999.
  4. ^ MIT website
  5. ^ Alasdair Steven 'Obituary: Lord Trotman' The Scotsman, 13 May 2005.