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Ford’s Fields in Folicle Fantasy Land

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Mullet or not, Fields' hair is talk of the auto industry

Mullet-wearing Ford exec plans to keep it

I know it's juvenile of me to point out the Mark Fields hockey hair and I was good about not mentioning it for a while (I made it past my promised 30 days). The “Jalopnik” blog also refers to his hair as a mullet. I'm not sure who started it first, but I scooped them on this one.

As is often the case, the “blogosphere” beat the “mainstream media” to the story.

Sunday's Detroit Free Press had an article (see UPI) about his hair. So I guess it's OK to talk about it. It's still juvenile, but we have to be able to laugh about something in the face of all of this auto industry decay.

Mark Fields gave up the corporate plane to fly home to Florida on the weekend.

But don't expect him to cut his thick, wiry black hair — no matter how many people complain, tease or obsess about his so-called mullet.

That's a hairstyle known for being short on top and longer in the back, and it was made popular in the 1970s and early 1980s. The often-ridiculed hairstyle is sometimes called hockey hair, a reference to the many players who still wear the style.

Fields said he doesn't believe he has a mullet, but he prefers to wear his hair a little longer, even though it seems so out-of-step with the conservative culture and fashions in the auto industry.

“I don't want to be too corporate,” he told the Free Press. “That's part of my radical side.”

I guess we've all collectively upset or puzzled his wife:

“Don't people in Detroit have better things to worry about?” Fields' wife, Jane, a petite, tough-talking East Coat native, asked the Free Press in Las Vegas last month.

So the Financial Times actually beat us bloggers to it:

The first mention of Fields' hair in a news article was in 1999, when it was announced Fields would lead Mazda.

The article ponders why we would care?

Such personal criticism or praise about the appearance of an automotive executive is highly unusual.

I'm no psycho-analyst, but I think the reason we all get so petty about minor things like hair is that we have so little control over the big things that matter, like boring car designs that don't sell, sourcing decisions, and plant closures… the total collapse of a great American car company.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

1 Comment
  1. Andy Wagner says

    Field’s claim to fame isn’t his business or manufacturing prowess, clearly. It’s marketing and styling. And clearly, your marketing/styling person should have something remotely resembling fashion sense. In my view, this makes the mullet *very* relevant.

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