DETROIT, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- William Clay Ford, Jr. ("Bill Ford"), the Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, Ralph H. Booth, II ("Ralph Booth"), the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Booth American Company, and Mark A. Schulz ("Mark Schulz"), the former President of International Operations at Ford Motor Company, today announced the official launch of Fontinalis Partners, LLC, a Michigan-based investment firm that will act as a strategic operating partner to transportation technology companies around the world.
Fontinalis Partners, with offices in Detroit and Boston, was founded in late 2009 by Bill Ford, Ralph Booth, Mark Schulz, Chris Cheever and Chris Thomas. The Founding Partners: Bill Ford, Ralph Booth and Mark Schulz each bring impressive and complementary executive experience to this transportation focused investment firm. Supported by Founding Principals Chris Cheever and Chris Thomas, Fontinalis Partners works closely with management teams to build long-standing equity value in companies providing society with the transportation technologies of tomorrow.
Fontinalis Partners is not affiliated with Ford Motor Company.
Bill Ford is a Founding Partner of Fontinalis. As a lifelong environmentalist and purveyor of mobility, his vision for Fontinalis is to make it a world-renowned partner of companies making a difference in these two arenas. Bill also serves as the Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company (FMC). Prior to joining the Board of Directors at FMC in 1988, he held positions in manufacturing, sales, marketing, product development and finance. In 1999, he became Chairman of the Board of Directors, and in 2001 Chief Executive Officer. Bill assumed the role of Executive Chairman in 2006. Under his leadership, in 2000, FMC published its first corporate citizenship report outlining the economic, environmental and social impact of company products and operations around the world. In 2004, he led the company to complete the world's largest brownfield reclamation project, the restoration of its Ford Rouge Center, transforming it into a "model of 21st century lean, flexible and environmentally sensitive manufacturing," saving millions of dollars in energy and other costs. Bill championed the Ford Escape Hybrid, the world's first hybrid-electric sports utility vehicle, later named the 2005 North American Truck of the year. Bill also is the Vice Chairman of The Detroit Lions, Inc. He is a member of various non-profit and for-profit boards including but not limited to: eBay, Business Leaders for Michigan, and The Henry Ford. Bill holds a B.A. from Princeton University and a M.S. in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ralph Booth is a Founding Partner of Fontinalis. As an investment professional with significant operational, strategic and transactional experience in both domestic and international markets, Ralph has repeatedly built and scaled companies from inception to IPO. Since 1995, Ralph has served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Booth American Company (BAC), a private investment firm. As CEO, Ralph continues to expand BAC's investment strategy and holdings both domestically and internationally by helping young companies of all types to grow and access new markets. Ralph's experience spans the globe, having built companies in the United States, Europe and South America. In 1989, he formed a European telecommunications division to provide broadband services in the U.K. He developed English Cable Enterprises and subsequently merged it into NTL, Inc., in 1994. Ralph then co-founded European Cable Capital Partners with Goldman Sachs and purchased a controlling interest in Diamond Cable Communications, Plc. Diamond was then merged into NTL, Inc., in 1999, forming the largest broadband telecommunications provider in the U.K. Prior to 1995, Ralph held the position of President and Chief Financial Officer of BAC, overseeing the development of the company's broadcast media, telecommunications and cable television divisions. Ralph also acts as a board member of Diveo Broadband Networks, Inc., with operations in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia and of Grupo Clarin, S.A. headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a past trustee of The Henry Ford and The Hotchkiss School, and has been active with the Valley Floor Preservation initiative in Telluride, CO. Ralph holds a B.A. from Harvard University.
Mark Schulz is a Founding Partner of Fontinalis. As an executive, Mark provides deep cross-border operational, engineering and strategic experience to companies in the transportation sector. Prior to Fontinalis, Mark served as the Chief Executive Officer of M.A. Schulz & Associates, a management consulting firm. Previously, he served as the President of International Operations of Ford Motor Company (FMC) from 2005 to 2007, during which he was responsible for the Ford brand internationally (Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa) and FMC's other brands globally: Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Mazda. Mark spent 32 years at FMC in a variety of executive roles, independently overseeing operations in South America, Turkey, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa. He also served as Director of Product Development of Ford Japan and Director of Corporate Strategy in North America. Mark is widely acknowledged for his negotiating and diplomatic skills. He is also a Director of YRC Worldwide, Dana Holding Corporation, and Valparaiso University. His board memberships include and have included: the U.S.-China Business Council, the National Bureau of Asian Research, and the International Advisory Board for the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Mark holds a M.S. in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Sloan Fellow. He also holds a M.S. in Engineering from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Economics from University of Detroit. Mark earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University.
Fontinalis' mission is to leverage the firm's considerable management experience, market access, strategic relationships, international expertise, and background in transportation innovation to scale companies providing the transportation technology solutions of tomorrow.
Of the official launch, Bill Ford said: "We are delighted to introduce Fontinalis Partners to the world. We take our mission very seriously to invest in and assist firms currently providing transformational ideas and products devoted to solving the world's most pressing environmental and mobility-oriented problems. And we are extremely excited to execute on this mission right away. With the unique background of the collective Founding Partners, we believe we are well positioned to do tremendous things to accelerate growth for companies we choose to partner with, and all while doing positive things for both society and the environment."
Fontinalis Partners believes business can be a positive force for social change and is actively seeking discussions with innovative transportation technology companies of the same belief.
About Fontinalis Partners
Fontinalis Partners, with offices in Detroit and Boston, is a leading transportation technology strategic investment firm founded by Bill Ford, Ralph Booth, Mark Schulz, Chris Cheever and Chris Thomas. Fontinalis' mission is to leverage the firm's considerable management experience, market access, strategic relationships, international expertise, and background in transportation innovation to scale companies providing the transportation technology solutions of tomorrow. Fontinalis Partners, LLC, invests as a strategic partner across all facets of the world's transportation infrastructure on a stage, structure and size agnostic basis. Fontinalis Partners is not affiliated with Ford Motor Company. For further information about Fontinalis Partners, please visit www.fontinalispartners.com or call (313) 432-0321.
SOURCE Fontinalis Partners