Retired Ford Motor Co. Chairman Alex Trotman (search), who spearheaded a $5 billion restructuring to restore the automaker to profitability in the 1990s, has died. He was 71.

Trotman died Monday after a brief illness in Yorkshire in his native England, Ford said in a news release. The company said it did not know the cause of death.

Trotman became chief executive in 1993, two years after Ford (search) posted a then-record loss of $2.3 billion. He directed the 1995 launch of Ford 2000, a restructuring plan that included the consolidation of the Dearborn-based automaker's North American and European operations.

Under Ford 2000, the company cut $5 billion in costs by having more vehicles share major components and by squeezing suppliers for lower prices.

"Alex was a great friend, colleague and leader of the extended family of Ford employees around the world," Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford Jr. (search) said in a news release. "He was the driving force behind a vast array of visionary changes in Ford Motor Company's global management and innovative products."

Trotman retired in 1999 after 43 years with Ford in a variety of positions throughout Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. He was succeeded by Jacques Nasser (search) as chief executive and by Bill Ford Jr. as chairman.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996 and acquired the title of Lord Trotman of Osmotherly in 1999.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Monday, Ford said.