Over the course of a few frantic days in mid-March, as the coronavirus was spreading across the U.S., the Detroit 3 and UAW made the bold decision to collectively shutter North American manufacturing operations.

The wholesale shutdown was unprecedented. So too was the way it happened: three rivals, with icy relationships even in the best of circumstances, hopping on conference calls to make a collective decision against a dire threat.

That those talks went smoothly, or even happened at all, can be credited to Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., and it’s among the reasons he was selected as Automotive News‘ 2020 Industry Leader of the Year.