By on February 20, 2010

Because the man clearly knew how to turn The General around. Bob Lutz might not be getting paid enough for his taste, but as Henderson proves, it’s not the numbers on the check, it’s the amount of work you’re expected to do for them. Automotive News [sub] reports:

GM said it had hired Henderson yesterday as a consultant on a month-to-month basis, with the job to end some time this year. GM will pay Henderson $59,090 monthly to counsel GM on international operations. He will work about 20 hours per month and meet once a month with GM’s international president, Tim Lee, or one of his representatives.

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44 Comments on “GM Hires Fritz Henderson As $3,000/Hour International Man Of Consultation...”


  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    OMG I despise this company. Sorry I ever willingly gave them a dime of my money.

  • avatar

    Wow, a good paying BS job. Please, sign me up!

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I’m having less and less confidence in Whitacre. Removing Henderson I thought was a step in the right direction, rehiring him in any capacity I don’t think is nor do I think Whitacre is the person who should have replaced Henderson. Whitacre so far has been able to pretty much ignore the media and on the few selected occasions he has been “interviewed” not given any responses or info of substance. I think that honeymoon is about over. What Whitacre needs to do IMO is hire capable outside talent and allow them to do their jobs. His role should be limited to Chairman of the board of directors. In the time he has been with GM I’m at a loss to list any substantive accomplishments. Given his age obviously he won’t be there longterm so IMO what he should be doing is recruiting the outside talent that will be.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I don’t care what they are paid or who they hire as long as the government doesn’t own them. They they can go C7 in 2013.

  • avatar
    crash sled

    This is pretty funny. Henderson musta showed them the outline for his forthcoming book.

    I guess Government Motors needs to pay this guy his hush money, same as with Lutz. A $3/4M payoff through the end of this year? That’s about what he’d get up front from the publisher, if that book’s outline dished some really good dirt.

  • avatar

    this is more than he was making when he worked there. this company is out of control, keeping the same executives that ran in into the ground to begin with. meanwhile tens of thousaands of retirees lose their health care, life insurance and pensions. what a disgrace!

  • avatar
    vento97

    What??? Government Motors spending their bailout money like there’s no tomorrow?

    Say it ain’t so!

    These bozos are so damn predictable it isn’t even funny.

    If I were king, there would be no such thing as being “Too Big To Fail”…

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Maybe the words on Sara Henderson’s Facebook page had a delayed effect.

  • avatar
    tedward

    This is strange. I’m not sure if the “hush money” theory works, a guy like this would want to publish for the sake of his own legacy probably more than for financial reasons (I find it hard to believe he’s near broke).

    The problem is, I don’t see why they would call him back for his personal knowledge or contacts either.
    Re: personal knowledge – I could see that for a lower level employee in the middle of a complex project (happened to me once), but not a big picture decision maker. Every complex set of facts he would have been working with would be presented to him by an expert underling, and he’d have a good overview, but as the decision maker he’d be the most replaceable part of that equation.
    Personal contacts – well, I guess this is possible. But again, GM is a huge international concern, with every deal involving huge amounts of money, and I find it hard to credit that there would be a party wanting to do business with them who wouldn’t go ahead regardless of leadership. Possibly this could have something to do with foreign markets, where personal bribes (felony…cough) and contacts probably have an outsized (by our standards) effect on major deals. It still sounds far-fetched.

  • avatar

    These “consulting” jobs are often part of a package for a sacked exec. The 20 hours per month are a dead give-away. In these arrangements, everybody usually hopes the “consultant” never shows up to do the job. Usually, a staffed office and other perks come with it. Yes, it can be part of a shut-up package, because as a consultant you have to sign an NDA.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      “These “consulting” jobs are often part of a package for a sacked exec.”

      That does make sense. It still puzzles me a bit though, as Mr. Henderson would have to think that going with the flow here would do more to reinforce his “upright citizen” status than a tell-all book. I can’t help but view him, any CEO really, as an ego monster at heart, and thus unlikely to make a decision that he feels would cause others to think less of him. Maybe at his country club this would be viewed as the honorable move.

    • 0 avatar
      OldWingGuy

      I think Mr. Schmitt has it right.

      The once per month meeting with “GM’s international president, Tim Lee, or one of his representatives” is comical.

      How much you want to bet when it comes time for an actual meeting, Mr. Lee is too busy, and the “representative” is someone from the mailroom.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Bertel, you seem to speak reason. IIRC, Fritz was CFO at GM when there were some financial accounting irregularities that were investigated. GM subsequently had to refile some annual reports.

      The word sinecure came to mind when I heard the news of Fritz’s new job.

      And the song by Frida:
      “I Know There’s Something Going On

      I can see that it won’t be long
      You grow cold when you keep holding on
      You know you’ve changed and your words they lie
      That’s something you can’t deny

      CHORUS:
      I know there’s something going on
      I know there’s something going on
      I know it won’t be long
      Won’t be long before you’re gone
      There’s something going on
      There’s something going on

      ….”

      Even though I work for GM, I am not privy to what is going on in this case.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      That is probably the best insight into the reality of why this happened. I had never heard of something like this, but it makes sense.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Sweet irony: It was Henderson who under oath in front of congress testified to a new level of transparency for GM going forward.

    Any person, err, US citizen, buying a GM product should have their head examined.

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    What, does “Fritz the Cat” have pictures of GM executives having intimate relations with farm animals? Or is he threatening to write a “tell all” book…the “new” GM is starting to look like the “old”
    GM. Just another reason for me to avoid their products like the plague.

    • 0 avatar
      3DSFX

      I work for GM in engineering. I can tell you first hand that from the trenches POV, there is NO New GM. Everything is the same and as disfunctional as it always has been.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      3DSFX, feel free to contact me at work to discuss what is going on in your area. Those of us in the GM trenches have more power to make things change than you imply on this site.

      And to all of you that don’t want to consider Cadillac-GMC-Buick-Chevy for a new car because of high finance deals, IMO you should judge the product. The new products we have on the road were built based on sound engineering as compared to the bean counting decisions of the past.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      Christy:

      Now to sound like I’m a naysayer… (as I could actually be convinced of anything BUT.)

      I have to completely agree with 3DSFX.
      No amount of publicity, of the CEO telling all us / public, that GM is all new, and changed.. and everything is fantastic and new.. can actually tell us / public anything different.

      I know you like to think that millions of people who bought GM really shouldn’t have a memory of the past 5/10yrs.

      Heck, I know you probably were born yesterday, right after GM emerged from bankruptcy to TRY and proclaim to all, that GM is all and fine with the world, complete with 4 brand new Lambda based vehicles to (compete head to head with each other), all the while GM dumps FOUR “underperforming” brands.

      But if you’ve been following this rotting corpse of a company..its the same shit..

      Different wrapper.

      So you can continue to preach to those who GM hasn’t pissed off.. with shit like what FRITZ is doing.

      This is where Govt Motors really shines.. *thick sarcasm*.

      P.S
      And if anyone just judges the product for what it is.. and doesn’t see the underlying B.S that it came from, and the shitty hierarchy and compounded management problems, NTM lopsided product development, and ill fated vehicle development cycles.. NTM total lack of longevity and continuity through GM as a whole…

      You would be missing.. a WHOLE HELL OF A LOT.

      And the vehicle starts to look pretty bad. (Especially when ya start looking at OTHER competing GM dealerships.)

      Christy:
      Just keep sniffing that new car smell.

    • 0 avatar
      3DSFX

      Hiya again Christy from the “other” GM insider!
      I’m not sure what I would expect you to do about it given the department your in but it’s nice of you to offer. I believe I’m familiar with the reporting programs you probably have in mind. From my standpoint, if I try to change things I run the risk of either losing my job or my life being made miserable by my dysfunctional supervisor AND manager. It’s not just me Christy. I see it all around me every day and if the TTAC readers could read the internal GM Blogs, they would see how many there are that are in the same situation as myself and afraid to say so. The new GM does not exist in any meaningful sense. I’m a designer and I spend half my day making power point presentations so findings of design studies can be “communicated” upward. Simple matters that could just as easy be handled by a short design review right at my computer in under 30 min. Instead it requires hours to put together an elaborate PowerPoint to be communicated though the engineer and his boss. And his boss’s boss and so on. It can take day or weeks to get simple issues resolved. I don’t mind doing power points if that’s what they ask for, but it is such a waste of man-hours it’s unbelievable. Now X that by thousands of people across the corporation. There is so much waste in the system it’s countless hundreds of millions of $$ annually. But never mind that. It could turn into a pages long rant!

      To speak to your second paragraph though. Examples I know of personally:
      2 GM mini vans that each had to have 2, yes TWO transmission re-builds each inside of 70K miles.
      A Trailblazer plagued with power steering problems and a driver-side door that is out of alignment and very difficult to open.
      An Envoy with less than 20K miles with a power driver seat that decides when it’s going to move all the way to the full aft position all by itself and windshield wipers that come on by themselves in July on a sunny dry day and drain the windshield wiper solvent and won’t shut off.
      A brand new Acadia with windshield wiper and solvent pump problems. And other numerous smaller problems that need to be taken care of by the dealer. This is from a fellow GM employee that swears if he didn’t work for GM he would never buy one and his wife won’t and drives an Acura.
      I’m sorry but based on the products as you say, I cannot recommend a GM vehicle to friends and neighbors with peace of mind. Most of the people I know are very p***ed about bailing out GM with what they consider their tax dollars. If you remember when the bail out was given to the automotive companies, it was something on the order of %76 of the US population was AGENST it. I and my family drive a Honda and a Nissan. I need a car with longevity and MINIMUM repair bills because I do not buy a new car until the one I have finally gives up and have no faith in the longevity in GM vehicles to risk buying one. And yes I consider it a high risk. The cars mentioned above are not even “old” vehicles. There put together now with cheap Malaysia and Chinese components that we force the foreign suppliers to make cheaper and cheaper. And with the amount of waste in the system, they nearly have to cut costs SOMEWHER to make up for it. Mays well cheapen up the vehicle as much as possible! Bottom line is those components will and do fail more often. It’s not part of my normal life to go to the dealer (like so many GM employees all around me think it’s “normal”) to have stuff fixed weather it’s under warranty or not so I refuse to buy one. It’s a hassle and I would like to keep those dealer visits to a minimum. Not to mention the horrible service and attitude I’ve gotten from GM dealers in the past. TTAC readers: This is the NEW GM they would have you believe exists. NUFF SAID. I believe this has turned into a pages long rant!

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      AccAzda, like the authors on this site and several other commentators, I post onymously and transparently. When will you do the same? From your comments I see that you have misinformation regarding the design and development cycles of motor vehicles.

      Specifically I have recommended certain vintages of Cadillacs, Buicks, GMCs and Chevrolets because they were designed and built after GM revised some internal processes and before the start of the implosion in 2008. Your examples are out-dated.

      3DSFX, it is not unusual to feel frustrated with an employer and want to share those thoughts with others. I suspect there are people at Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, etc. that feel the same. However, GM internal employee blogs are considered GM confidential information. Please be careful what you disclose publicly.

      My offer still stands to seek me out at work (I work in engineering, too, and know about designers and such). You might be surprised at how I can help you.

      To all, facts speak for themselves regarding GMs past performance. However, there are a majority of employees at GM that want to design and build the best vehicles for our customers. A majority of employees want to help customers whenever they have a frustrating dealer experience, sales or service. A majority of the employees are working to improve quality and reliability.

      For every GM vehicle horror story, there are other stories to counter it. Chevy Colorado trucks from 2004 with 230K+ miles on them and no repairs or 1999 Buick LeSabres with 165k+ miles on them and no repairs. If you are interested in buying a new vehicle, consider Malibu, Equinox, Silverado HD pickups, SRX, CTS, CTS Sports Wagon, Terrain, LaCrosse.

    • 0 avatar
      3DSFX

      “Revised some internal processes” This is what I like. GM has created this monster of “internal processes” that nobody can wade though and nobody understands. Funny thing is, most see nothing wrong with it. Most of us GM lifers are incapable of understanding there is a monumental logistics nightmare that exists. This is exactly the reason I spend 90% of my time wading through the red tape mess and making Power Points and maybe %10 actually designing. I hate to say it Christy, but keep talking. Your every word reinforces what I know to be true about GM and the attitude of the people. There so entrenched in the “internal processes” that after all these years they actually believe in their own mind that they are doing real work. Unbelievable but a %100 accurate statment. When they coined the phrase “Poisonous corporate culture ” they had no idea of just what an understatment that can be.

    • 0 avatar
      3DSFX

      “However, there are a majority of employees at GM that want to design and build the best vehicles for our customers.” Christy I honestly believe this statment to be true. It’s just near impossible to do it when your stifled at every turn. THAT is one of the main problems I see. They’ve squashed all creativity and it’s always a time thing. You spend so much time wasted doing other things in the end my supervisor will actually tell me flat out to release the parts, he dosen’t care if there right or wrong, they need today’s date stamp on them. Honestly, his own words. WTF is that if not totally disfunctional?

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Reason #6,387 why I’ll never buy a GM car.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Fritz ain’t worth $3000 butterflied and marinated.

  • avatar
    Terry

    I’d do it for 1/4th of that!
    5 hours of “work” for $15K, and I could do it an hour after my regular job…

  • avatar
    50merc

    GM is a ward of the government, so I made a Freedom of Information Act request for a tape of Whitacre’s first consultation with Henderson. Here, exclusively for TTAC, is the entire transcript:
    W: “So, Fritz, how can I get this company to make a dime?”
    H: “Beats me, Ed. Couldn’t figure it out when I was there.”
    W: “Darn. I’ve got to do something or the Senate will be on my case.”
    H: “You could form a committee.”
    W. “Yeah, that would buy some time. Thanks!”
    H: “Glad to help. Wanna go out for a beer?”
    W: “Sounds good. Have your people call my people.”

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    Makes me glad that I am scrapping my 94 Cavalier Monday. Ironically, I have bought a Dodge Caravan to replace it. Lets see if Chrysler does any better….

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    This may not be illegal, but it sure is immoral.

  • avatar
    nevets248

    Ms Garwood,
    and who approves your cruising the internet during work hours?
    OR is it part of your “new GM” job description?

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Mr. Anonymous nevets248,

      You are making assumptions. Have you heard the adage about what happens when you ass-u-me something?

      Everyone at GM is accountable for their work. One new responsibility that we have all been given, in addition to our ‘day job’ is to help current and potential customers.

    • 0 avatar
      3DSFX

      WOW! What I see every day is that nobody at GM is accountable for anything. In statment only. I’m sorry I see just the opposite all around me every day. The worst offenders? The old school supervisor and managers that still (as I said before) enable the old school GM mentality. There the ones that enable the logistical nightmare and processes upon process that I speak of. Wow Christy your group must be one of the blessed few! I would try very hard never to be moved out from your group!

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    3DSFX is likely hiding his identity because it’s not exactly good office politics to publicly acknowledge what anybody who has a friend or two in GM already knows – the only thing that changed is that there are slightly fewer people around shoveling tax money into the furnace.

    Unless Whitacre has completely changed since he left SBC/ATT, he’s hardly a leadership game changer.

    Had Whitacre fired everybody at the VP and up level and hired some competent people, then maybe there would be some believability to the ‘New GM’ verbiage. But the same basic corporate culture exists, and there’s even less motivation for the average corporate employee to ‘think different’.

    There’s precious few jobs that overpay like GM jobs. None of them are in SEMI, and they actually have to produce profitable product or the whole division gets sacked.

    The average worker is doing what he/she is told and trying to keep their head down and make it to the next GM BK. They aren’t gonna get paid like they do anywhere else, and they know it.

    • 0 avatar
      3DSFX

      I couldn’t have said it better Porschespeed. And yes I know it. And I will continue to keep my head down if I can and keep my overpayed job. I get payed well for doing Power Points! Hell the engineer I work with on a day to day basis openly admits he’s just a “Power Point engineer” as he puts it. What a joke. I’m not sure how long it will last with as fast as GM is sending the design work over to India or our new design center in China, but I’ll ride it out. And there is your American car for you. Never mind where it’s built like they talk about in main-stream media. They never talk about where the vehicles are designed and engineered. We do some, but there sending it overseas fast and furious for the cheap design labor.

      And I like to say we’re the biggest bunch of weathermen on the planet. 1 square mile of us that never have to be right. I’m on the other side of the fence from Christy and I refuse to sacumb to the GM zombie walk and just turn my head from reality and sqiew nonsence that everything is OK when I can see first hand it’s far far from OK or “New”. Very very sad to think we were once the icon of American industry and inovation. Very sad indeed. Destroyed by the poorest managment on the planet from top to bottom and a complete loss of focus.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      I come from the perspective that if I keep my head down, and keep doing the same thing I always did, nothing will change. I made a conscious decision last year to put the energies of my frustrations into efforts towards making GM products something I can be proud of. I made this decision on my own because I felt betrayed by previous top-level management.

      There are others like me that have started speaking up and refusing to do work that makes no sense. And we are not getting fired; we are changing the way GM engineers and builds cars and trucks. Some internal processes are not just revised – they are no longer followed.

      Make no mistake, if GM engineering and build locations are so lousy and have been lousy for decades in the US, there would never be any vehicles that get over 150K miles on them without repair. And yet, those vehicles do exist. (Wasn’t there a 2001 GMC pick-up discussed recently here in Sajeev’s column?)

      In the past, GM relied mostly on its dealers to sell the cars. Now, all employees are being asked to be ambassadors for sales and service issues if they come up. It is a new role for most of us and one that I am willing to learn for our customers.

      I believe there are still problems within GM that need to be addressed and I am optimistic that most here are working to resolve those issues. I am aware of those like 3DSFX who suffer in silence and voice complaints anonymously. It would be better to make suggestions for improvement. Truly talented people are never beaten down forever by a frustrating system.

      And sure, if DeLorenzo wants to interview me, I’m game.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    3DSFX,

    Good luck to you man. The coupla folks I know that are still at GM used to be much more disruptive than they are at this point. Now, they’re just playin’ the game as long as they can – still looking for another gig, but you know how much manufacturing is done here anymore. So, they make no waves anymore, and, they sound just like Christy. In public, at GM, anyway…

    Though I have been a GM critic since the mid 70′s, it’s not a blind hatred – quite to the contrary it’s that I know GM can do better, much better. The sad part is that there really are some talented people at GM, talented people, beaten down by a thoroughly dysfunctional system.

    Hang in there…

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Christy,

    Perhaps you enjoy a level of job security that others do not. Perhaps change *has* come to your little fiefdom, in which case, great!

    However, most of GM still looks like the old executive garage – the squeaky wheel doesn’t get the grease – it gets replaced.

    As to cars making it 150K without repairs, congrats on catching up with the longetivity of my dad’s 1978 Corolla, or my 1982 Honda Civic, or my 73 450 SEL, or my 84 500SEL, or…

    If you don’t understand that the GM system has been systemically broken for decades, you might want to read DeLorean’s book. Or read an enthusiast mag from the 70′s.

    Or hunt down some of the talented people who exited over the last 20 years because the system took too much of their energy.

    BTW, DeLorenzo? The varnish-sniffing, low-octane, knuckle-dragging truthiness? He’s so far off the planet it’s barely readable, ‘cept as a laugh.

  • avatar

    with the money we’re paying Fritz, we could instead again afford voice mail and trash bags for our salary personnel.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      I heard its like the Omega Man movie in the Ren Cen.

      Parking Garage isnt plowed.
      No batteries in the clocks

      Heck I bet 2 in every 5 trashcans are tossed to save labor of the maids who come in at night. Or do they pay extra for that?

      Also heard the escalators are turned off too.

  • avatar

    there are no maids, or janitorial. you have to empty your own trash. for the time being the company still provides toilet paper…


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