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Lions say Ford family has a succession plan in place

Martha Firestone Ford


When longtime Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. died, his widow Martha Ford took over the team. That came as a surprise to many, as it had been assumed that her son William Clay Ford Jr. would run the Lions.

Now there are questions being raised in Detroit about how much longer the 90-year-old Martha Ford will continue to run the team. The Lions are declining to go into specifics about that, except to say one thing: The Lions are not now and will not be for sale, and the Ford family has a plan in place to continue running the team.

“I’m very involved in the plans to succeed Mrs. Ford within the family and the ownership, and beyond that I’d rather leave all that to those who are in the room as opposed to talk about it outside the room,” Lions President Rod Wood said on WMGC-FM, via the Detroit Free Press. “But I can assure the fans and the community that the Ford family’s committed to owning the Lions long term.”

The league’s other owners would surely like to know that the Lions will have a strong plan in place to avoid a situation similar to what is currently unfolding in Tennessee, where ownership is divided among the heirs to team founder Bud Adams, and there’s been some talk that the team might need to be sold. In Detroit, the Ford family insists the next generation will continue to run the team, even if the Fords haven’t yet named which member of the next generation will run the team.