Donald E. Peterson is an American businessman who was born in September of 1926. He was employed by the Ford Motor Company for 40 years and was the CEO from 1985 until 1990. Peterson served in the US Marine Corps in WW II and in the Korean War.
He started out at Ford Motor Company in 1950. He was their President and COO startin in March of 1980 and he became Chairman of the Board and the CEO in February of 1985. He was on the Board of Directors from September of 1977 until he retired in February of 1990.
USA Today called him a “Most Valuable Person” in 1988 and Chief Executive magazine called him the “CEO of the Year” in 1989. Petersen was said to have completely transformed Ford with an inclusive, team-oriented approach to management. Donald Peterson is well known for bringing Ford out of its financial problems in the early 1980s with the creation of the Ford Taurus and the Mercury Sable. He asked the Ford design staff if they were making vehicles that they would be proud to buy and have in their own driveways and he got the designers to start thinking in this way.