By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — For the first time since its doors opened in 1929, the Henry Ford Museum won’t have a member of the Ford family as chairman of the board.
Bill Ford Jr. on Tuesday announced that he was stepping down from the post after 13 years. Citing a desire for new leadership, Ford, 52, said he would remain a board trustee.
“I look forward to continuing to work with this great institution to fulfill the vision of my great-grandfather by celebrating the genius of the past and inspiring ordinary people to do extraordinary things,” he said in a statement.
During his time as chairman, Ford had his hand in several expansion and improvement projects at the institution. In 1997, the Henry Ford Academy opened on museum grounds as the first charter school developed jointly by a global corporation, public education and nonprofit cultural institution.
Two years later, the museum opened an IMAX movie facility that features the largest movie screen in the world and has been a consistent draw for visitors.
And in 2004, the museum launched the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, which takes the industrially inquisitive through the plant that put Dearborn on the map and that many credit as the birthplace of modern manufacturing.
“Bill has been an important partner for this institution and a strong ’supporter of The Henry Ford’s strategic direction,” said The Henry Ford President, Patricia Mooradian. “His leadership and expertise have been invaluable to this organization, and we are grateful he will remain on our board as a trustee.”
Succeeding Ford is S. Evan Weiner, who has been a board member since 2004. Weiner is also executive vice president and chief operating officer of construction-materials supplier Edward C. Levy Co. Weiner, a Franklin resident, also serves on the boards of the Beaumont Hospital Foundation, The Parade Co. and the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan.