Former Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. of Tennessee has moved into corporate America as vice-chairman and senior policy adviser for Merrill Lynch while continuing to chair the Democratic Leadership Council. This move may strengthen his clout in national political circles as it did for former president Bill Clinton. “Mr. Ford’s experience in government and his unique insight will benefit Merrill Lynch as we address the public policy implications of our various business activities over the next few years,” says company spokeswoman Selena Morris. Ford’s primary areas of responsibility will include domestic policy issues, serving on the firm’s public policy and social responsibility committees, and working on business development initiatives in the institutional and retail markets.