Ed Whitacre clueless in Motorcity?

Peter Delorenzo at Autoextremist.com is not feeling the love for GM everything Ed Whitacre.

No one could miss the headline screaming “Whitacre wants more sales – NOW!” on the top of the front page in this week’s Automotive News. And as the story attempted to flesh out Big Ed’s growing impatience with the whole “sluggish sales” quandary that continues to vex GM – and the reassignment and in some cases jettisoning of sales and marketing executives – and after observing the day-to-day chaos that seems to define GM of late, I’m getting the distinct impression that Whitacre still doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s dealing with here in the auto biz.

So I thought I’d give Big Ed a few pointed reminders…

Dear Ed:

I’m sure you’ve figured this out about now, but just in case you haven’t, this business isn’t about consolidating “Baby” Bells, or fixin’ to make deals, or playing phone and cable customers off against each other, either. And it’s not about packaging cable, phone and Internet service into tidy little bundles that people can deal with by the month, at the expense of a competitor you want to bury.

Read the full article here.


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GM’s Bob Lutz to retire in May

Longtime auto executive Bob Lutz is going to hang’em up on May 1st. Of course Mr. Lutz 78 had a great line to describe how he feels at this time.

There is something that gets old about getting up at 4:30 in the morning,” Lutz said today in Switzerland after the Geneva auto show. “At some point you have to do something new.”

From AutoNews.com:

DETROIT — Bob Lutz, the General Motors Co. product development leader who postponed retirement last year to help steer the automaker out of bankruptcy, plans to call it quits May 1.

Lutz, 78, has been a vice chairman and senior adviser to CEO Ed Whitacre since December, after a plan for Lutz to lead GM’s revival through marketing unraveled within six months.

“There is something that gets old about getting up at 4:30 in the morning,” Lutz said today in Switzerland after the Geneva auto show. “At some point you have to do something new.”

Read the full article here.

  

End of the road for Saab?

Looks like the end of the road for Saab unless a profitable car company wants to take a chance. The bigger question here is, will any of GM’s brand that were announced to be sold during the bankruptcy filing actually ever be sold?

From Autoblog.com:

It’s now or never. By the end of December General Motors will either divest itself of Saab by selling the Swedish automaker or by permanently closing its doors. And there is but one company bidding for the Swedish automaker — Spyker — which has yet to turn a profit. GM Chairman and interim CEO Ed Whitacre told a group of reporters at the company’s Detroit headquarters that Spyker is the only automaker left bidding for the perennially struggling automaker. Whitacre reportedly told attendees that striking a deal was “possible,” but he then reiterated that Saab would close if the deal isn’t struck by the end of the year.

Read the full article here.


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Ford CEO Mulally talks to new GM Chairman Whitacre

During the course of this conversation between Mulally and Whitacre, do you think the names, Mark Fields, Jim Farley or Joe Hinrichs came up? It would be a major coupe if GM could tap one of these three to be the CEO at The New General. A young and talented CEO with a take no prisoners Chairman like Whitacre might be what the people ordered from GM.

Per Reuters.com:

DETROIT, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a CNBC interview on Thursday that he had talked this week with General Motors Co [GM.UL] Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre.

Mulally, who Ford hired away from Boeing Co (BA.N) three years ago, did not discuss details of his conversation with Whitacre. Whitacre became chairman of GM in July and was named CEO on Dec. 1 with the resignation of CEO Fritz Henderson.

“Well, matter of fact, we did talk yesterday,” Mulally said in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC. “He’s reaching out just the way that I did when I came in.”

Read the full article here.


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Fritz Henderson out as CEO of GM


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We’ve been hearing rumblings for a while that board chairman Ed Whitacre was determined to change the culture at GM, and that everyone, including CEO Fritz Henderson, would be judged by a very high standard. BusinessWeek had an excellent report on this several months ago.

We learned today the Henderson has been fired by the board, and that Whitacre will take over an interim CEO. That’s quite a shake-up, and I’m sure we’ll learn more in the coming days. It’s either a sign of disarray at the new GM, or perhaps a sign that the new board is determined to set a new standard and see results.

They will almost certainly look outside of the company for the next chief. Tapping an upcoming star from the Ford stable isn’t a bad idea. Mark Fields or Jim Farley would be interesting and aggressive moves by the new GM board. Let the speculation begin!

  

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