An increasing number of media reports are indicating that instead of a single “car czar,” Obama will appoint a team to oversee the auto industry turnaround effort. Current reports indicate that Democrat fundraiser Steve Rattner will likely take the top oversight position, but his total lack of (non-political) qualifications for the job is considered an issue. Which is where Stephen Girsky comes in. “They clearly need an adviser who knows the industry,” former Chrysler president Thomas Stallkamp tells Bloomberg. “Girsky certainly knows the industry, and he was close to both GM and the union.” And though I have questioned whether Girsky’s UAW affiliations are best described in the past or present tense, this 2004 presentation (PDF) to Original Equipment Suppliers Association is decidedly prescient. Especially for 2004. And this December 2008 presentation to UAW Local 14 seems to indicate that his recent advising stint with the UAW was a mission of truth and reconciliation rather than one of conniving and obfuscation.
Of course, no matter how TTAC-ish Girsky is, if he’s answering to a wannabe media mogul who just happened to raise $100k for Obama, there’s no knowing what the result might be. Especially considering that Rattner is embroiled in a dispute with Chrysler’s and GMAC’s owner (Cerberus) over a $125m loan his private equity fund received from Cerberus to purchase Maxim Magazine. Seriously. “It’s crazy,” one surprised source familiar with the money squabble tells the NY Post. “Cerberus is about to foreclose on the loan to Quadrangle, and now Steve Rattner is going to be the boss of Cerberus.” Crazy indeed.