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  •  Harry Bennett (1+ / 0-)
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    The job of the Service Department was to deal with the growing labor unrest and the labor unions that were starting to form. Ford had instituted a policy called "speed up" by which the speed of the assembly lines were increased slightly every week and employees were feeling the strain.

    The head of the Service Department was Harry Bennett. At 5 feet, 6 inches he was in great physical shape due to his years of boxing.

    Bennett liked to talk and act tough. He took target practice by firing BB's from an air pistol at a small target mechanism on a filing cabinet in his basement office at the Rouge. Visitors and co-workers were puzzled by the muffled sounds of pellets striking the target. Bennett furthered his tough guy image by keeping lions as pets at his Ann Arbor estate. He startled fellow executives by bringing the cats to his office.
    It didn't take Bennett long to assemble a collection of football players, boxers, wrestlers and even Detroit river gang members as Service Department employees. Bennett possessed no car making skills at all. His success with the company came solely from his close relationship with Henry Ford and his ability to get things done. All Henry had to do was ask, "Can you take care of that Harry?" and it was done.

    In 1945 Henry Ford II was summoned to Henry Ford's estate and informed that he would be the new president of Ford Motor Company. As his first act, Henry Ford II, then 28, handed Bennett his walking papers. Bennett got in a parting shot by telling Ford, "You're taking over a billion-dollar company that you haven't contributed a thing to." That afternoon, Bennett departed, ending his strange 30 year career with the Ford Motor Company.

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