Ford heirs worry of plummeting wealth

The value of the Ford family's stake in its namesake, ailing automaker has dropped by half since 2001, and worried heirs have been talking with investment banks about their options, Fortune magazine reported today.

The family's class B stock in Ford Motor Co. was valued at $1.14 billion when Bill Ford took over as CEO in 2001. Some $581 million of that market value has disappeared, Fortune reported. And the shares' dividend payouts — $28 million in 2005 — will be zero this year.

Some 47 fourth- and fifth-generation heirs, including Bill Ford, own the shares. They meet twice a year and maintain a family office in Dearborn to handle financial matters.

Anne Ford, cousin to Bill Ford, told Fortune the family still stands behind the chairman, who ceded his CEO title to Alan Mulally in September. Detroit News

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