Gerard W. Ford
|Headquarters||New York City, U.S.|
|Owner||Altpoint Capital Partners (93%) and others|
Ford Models was started in 1946 by Eileen and Gerard W. "Jerry" Ford. Ford was the first company to advance their models' money-owed by jobs that had been completed but not yet paid. The Ford family had the tradition of allowing teenage models who originated far from New York City to stay in their home.
The company was the pre-eminent New York agency until John Casablancas of Elite Model Management opened up in the city, leading to the "model wars" of the 1980s. Ford, like many of the original agencies of the 1970s, now has to compete with a broad field of contenders, such as Women, IMG and DNA.
The agency has represented a diverse list of models and celebrities. In 1980, the company established the Ford Supermodel of the World Contest, which attracted more than 60,000 hopefuls annually from around the world. Today, the contest lives on in the form of the annual V/VMan Ford Model Search run in conjunction with the two Visionaire publications.
Eileen and Jerry began the business in their home. Their daughter Katie Ford took over in 1995 after working in the agency for 16 years.
The Fords sold the agency in 2007 to an investment bank, Stone Tower Equity Partners, owned by Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin. The private equity firm has since been renamed Altpoint Capital Partners in 2009.
In 2007, John Caplan became Ford Models' chief executive officer.
In the 2000s, the company diversified through Ford Artists to represent talent in the hair, makeup and wardrobe industries. It has also promoted itself through its social media platform, which includes the Ford Models Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Ford Models has also lent its name to an imprint of Random House books, which created a series of teen novels that served to try and glamorize working with the agency.
In 2019 Ford Models sued a former executive, claiming she invented a story about her husband having a terminal illness in order to have the company agree to render null the non-compete clause of her employment contract. Ford Models charged that among other things the executive was liable to forfeiture of her compensation back to the company, inasmuch as she had been a "faithless servant."
In September 2019, the executive filed a countersuit against Ford Models, claiming that the chairman Gerald Banks (Guerman Aliev) had been spending company funds inappropriately for years, and that by July 2019, Ford had over $8 million in debt. She further claimed that she had quit when she realized Banks and Ford Models owner Vladimir Potanin had close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ford Artists and Ford Models
In recent years the company has diversified into other professions related to the fashion industry through Ford Artists. They represent hair stylists, makeup artists, manicurists, stylists, set designers, prop stylists, art directors, and photographers. Ford Artists locations include Chicago and Miami.
In 2000, Magnum Sports and Entertainment bought 80% of the agency. In 2007, Stone Tower Equity Partners made an investment in the company. Stone Tower was later renamed Altpoint Capital Partners.
- Sigrid Agren
- Charlene Almarvez
- Alex Binaris
- Kacey Carrig
- Estelle Chen
- Oliver Cheshire
- Sora Choi
- Hailey Clauson
- Cintia Dicker
- Daniel Di Tomasso
- Cora Emmanuel
- Kelly Gale
- David Gandy
- Kris Grikaite
- Kenya Kinski-Jones
- Sui He
- Brad Kroenig
- Alexandra Micu
- Hannah Motler
- Alison Nix
- Radhika Nair
- Giselle Norman
- Andreja Pejić
- Tyson Ritter
- Charo Ronquillo
- Miriam Sánchez
- Paul Sculfor
- Evandro Soldati
- Hana Soukupová
- Fran Summers
- Caroline Trentini
- André Ziehe
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- No, No, I Said 'Term Loan,' Not 'Turnpike'
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