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March 22, 2004
Ford Restoring 401(k) Matches, Executive Bonuses
Prompted by the first profit shown in three years, directors of the Ford Motor Co. have announced plans to reinstate a partial match on salaried employees' 401(k) retirement savings and issue bonuses to 6,200 executives in middle and upper management.

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Among those receiving bonuses will be CEO Bill Ford Jr., who promptly announced last week that he'll be donating his to company employees, for their children's college tuition, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Ford, the great grandson of Henry Ford, is expected to receive the equivalent of $1.5 million in Ford Motor Co. stock, the Free Press reports.

The Detroit News, quoting from a Securities Exchange Commission filing, reports that Ford can cash in 113,122 shares on March 12, 2005.

It remains unclear whether the money will be added to the company's existing tuition-assistance programs or be used to form a new one, according to the Free Press. The current programs have provided up to $1,500 a year to more than 25,000 dependents of Ford employees over the last five years.

The Free Press, citing unnamed insiders at Ford as its source, reports that Bill Ford initially refused to accept his bonus. But when the directors insisted, he opted to turn it over to other U.S. employees.

In an e-mail to U.S. employees Thursday afternoon, Ford thanked "the thousands of Ford employees in our extended family who've made our growing success possible."

Ford turned a $495 million profit in 2003, after two years of finishing in the red.

Although the bonus is Bill Ford's first since becoming CEO 2 1/2 years ago, he has received compensation beyond the stock options he is taking in lieu of a $1.5 million salary, according to the Free Press. As a long-term incentive, he was granted 4 million options in January 2002, which the company estimated were worth $20 million. Ford received another 4 million options in January 2003, which will be valued in the proxy statement the automaker plans to release next month.

This January, he was granted almost 1.6 million options, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


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