The proposal was put forward at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders last week. Although 27% of shareholders voted in favour, 73% voted against.
The Ford family currently controls 40% of the company even though it holds less than 4% of the stock. Each Ford family share carries 16 votes, while an ordinary share represents a single vote.
A similar proposal also failed in 2006.
Chairman Bill Ford, great-grandson of company founder Henry, said that investors were still attracted by the long-term stability provided by the family’s involvement.
He welcomed investment in Ford by US billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, the three-time owner of moviemaker MGM, and thanked Kerkorian’s Tracinda holding company for its confidence in Ford’s business plan. It is building a 5.6% stake through a tender offer.
In 2006 Kerkorian bought a 10% stake in General Motors before selling it within a year after failing to force GM into a three-way alliance with Nissan and Renault.
Kerkorian also made an unsuccessful $4.5 billion bid to acquire Chrysler in 2007.