After 35 years of service in various engineering and management positions for Ford and Chrysler, Susan Cischke will retire by Feb. 1. The Detroit Free Press reports that Cischke, 57, who has been the automaker’s environmental and safety executive since 2001, was Ford’s top-ranking female executive.
Sue Cischke reflects on her career
Susan Cischke was at the center of many key debates over fuel economy during her distinguished career. According to the Free Press, these came at a time when Detroit’s big three were typically characterized as being less than concerned about environmental impact and extra automotive safety measures.
“Thirty-five years is a long time. It’s been really challenging,” she said. “These last few years, we’ve really focused on being part of the solution.”
One of the solutions to which Cischke referred was an agreement that boosted the U.S. fuel economy standard to 54.5 mpg for cars and light trucks by 2025.
Promoted to top level in 2006
When CEO Alan Mulally took the reins of Ford in late 2006, Susan Cischke’s was one of the first two high-level promotions granted. The move illustrated that Ford would place greater emphasis on sustainability, safety and the environment than ever before.
Cischke will be succeeded by Robert Brown, 56, who is currently Ford of Europe’s top environmental safety executive.
Mulally on Cischke’s retirement
In a press release, Mulally reflected on the retirement of one of Ford Motor Company’s prize assets.
“Sue knows how to bring people together, find common ground and make progress on the world’s big issues,” he said. “Especially environmental sustainability, energy independence and economic development.”
A mentor to women in the automotive industry
Beyond Susan Cischke’s impact on environmental and safety policy, her impact as a mentor to female executives in the automotive industry cannot be discounted. AOL Autoblog Green notes her willingness to retrain and motivate female engineers who had previously faced the professional frustration of a glass ceiling.
Ever an active professional, Cischke told the Free Press that she has no intention of taking her post-Ford years sitting down.
“I’ll remain active in promoting careers in science for women,” she said.