Picture, Franklin A. Thomas: Disturbed by "the personal nastiness" of attacks on him.

Under McGeorge Bundy, the Ford Foundation was organized into five program divisions, each with its own vice president. Former education Vice President Harold Howe II called this organizational structure "Bundy's baronies."

The vice presidents of the three major divisions, international, national affairs and education, ran semi-autonomous operations. "We tended to build our own empires," said Howe, who retired from the foundation in May.

In early April, Franklin A. Thomas, who succeeded Bundy, announced an organizational structure designed to eliminate separate fiefdoms. Under the plan, the foundation is to be organized into six theme areas cutting across traditional internal divisions.

The themes are urban poverty, rural poverty, human rights, education, international economic and political issues, and governance and public policy. They encompass many of the traidtional activities of the nation's largest foundation.

Several longstanding Ford Foundation interests do not fit neatly into the new structure. They include the arts, population programs, health and nutrition programs, the environment and women's programs.

Some programs, such as population, are being consciously phased out. Others, such as women's programs, will cut across several theme areas, according to Thomas. Arts programs remain in limbo, he said, until the board finishes reviewing a policy paper.