Yes, Ward's is named for someone named Ward. He was Alfred H. Ward and he was with the company from its start-up in 1924 until 1964. He died in 1968. He owned the company from 1935 until 1957.
Although Ward's carries Al Ward's name, the company began life in 1924 as Cram's Report. Cram's focused on providing stock market information covering many of the 700 automakers then in existence in the U.S. During the October 1929 stock market crash, Cram's also nearly died.
But thanks to Al Ward and others, it survived by switching to the gathering of automotive statistics. The auto companies refused to supply production numbers, so Al Ward and his reporters began stopping workers as they left the assembly plants, asking them how many cars they had built that day.
An Englishman who settled in Detroit, Al Wardfirst put his name on a publication when he launched Ward's Automotive Reports in 1935 as a successor to Cram's Report, and added Ward's Automotive Yearbook in 1938 as a hardback publication featuring annual news and statistical reviews. Both WAR and WAY were built around automotive statistics and news - the core of WardsAuto's industry coverage today.