Companies – or so they say – pay their executives the big bucks to keep them from leaving, or, in corporate-speak to “retain” them. In the case of GM CEO Dan Akerson, they pay him more because he will leave. Nasty people will say “to make him leave.” Read More >
When Toyota gets on the horn by lunchtime to tell Tokyo’s media to show up at 4:30 the same day, everybody knows it will be a big surprise and an even bigger deal. Today, Japan’s Fourth Estate already knew what’s coming when the phone rang. It still was a big deal: Toyota completely reshuffled its top executives. It even brought a non-Japanese on board, a former GM man to boot. Read More >
Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee held a hearing to look into executive compensation “at bailed-out firms that is egregiously out of line with what the President committed to the American people,” as Chairman Jim Jordan said. Jordan recalled that the President had committed “that top executives at firms that receive extraordinary help from U.S. tax payers will have their compensation capped at half a million dollars.” That clearly wasn’t the truth. Yesterday, we heard that GM CEO Dan Akerson, for example, made $9 million in 2012 and wanted $11.1 this year. Jordan said that “Treasury’s failure to protect tax payers is part of a disturbing pattern in which this administration makes promises to the public but the does not live up to them.” That’s not the only pattern that is disturbing. Read More >
GM’s CEO Dan Akerson asked for a big raise. He thinks his work at GM is worth a paycheck of $11.1 million this year, up 20 percent from last year, Reuters reports, citing documents. The embarrassing part: Akerson and GM have to ask its white House sugar daddy for approval.
As part of GM’s government-funded bailout, the salaries of GM executives must be authorized by a special paymaster from the federal government. The request for a raise comes at an inopportune time. Read More >
It is unusual that the supervisory board of a large German corporation denies the dearest wishes of its Management. If the board does not like a wish, the wish usually won’t be rendered in the first place, the tight community of executive assistants will see to it. It would be most unusual that the board denies the wish of its CEO to run the company for another five years. Daimler’s board did the impossible: It denied Dieter Zetsche’s wish for another five-year contract, and gave Dr. Z. three years to get Daimler’s house in order. It’s a mission impossible. The mustachioed will sit out his career as a fall guy. Read More >
GM’s North American president, Mark Reuss, was in the running as CEO in 2010, but was passed-over for an alleged “lack of seasoning,” says Reuters after reading an upcoming book by GM’s former CEO, Ed Whitacre. Instead of Reuss, who had shown that he knows what he is doing, a completely unseasoned Dan Akerson was put at the helm of GM.
According to the book, Whitacre recommended Reuss as his replacement when Whitacre stepped down after the bailout. Whitacre writes:
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Forward contracts for popcorn skyrocketed at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Tokyo Commodity Exchange and other world markets after managers of Fiat and Nissan traded barbs about beauty.
Matt Davis, head of Fiat brand product marketing, hit first. Read More >
Joel Ewanick is not on a good trajectory. The former rock star marketing chief of Hyundai, and later defenestrated global marketing chief of GM, hired on as “Chief Commercial Officer” at Fisker. Not even that. He will be interim Chief Commercial Officer until Fisker has found a suitable replacement for allegedly retiring Richard Beattie. Beattie had signed on last December. Read More >
Observers knew that something was in the bush when Ford scheduled a conference call for today 9 a.m. Eastern. Hosted by Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., the call promised to be about more than October sales. It was about Ford’s future CEO. Read More >
In Part 1 of our talk with Infiniti CEO Johan de Nysschen at his new office at the Infiniti world headquarters in Hong Kong, we talked about his new job, about new directions for Infiniti, and for the brand. In the second part, we talk about the new cars Infiniti will bring, where they will be made, what engines will be in them, and what deNysschen thinks about the plan to sell half a million by 2016.
In April at the Beijing auto show, Nissan’s Andy Palmer said he wants to see 500,000 Infiniti sold by 2016, while conceding that this is “an aggressive target.” In the last fiscal year, Infiniti sold 141,000 units worldwide, 105,000 of those in the Americas. In carefully crafted words, de Nysschen explains what he thinks of the 500,000 unit target: Read More >
Panic at RenCen. It’s not that people are leaving GM. It’s how they leave. Two weeks ago, Opel chief Karl-Friedrich Stracke presented numbers to Dan Akerson. Akerson fires him. Opel gets two interim chiefs in a week. Last Thursday, Opel’s new design chief Dave Lyon doesn’t even start his job. Today, media in the U.S. and Germany report that Lyon had been escorted from the building and to a waiting car by GM’s head of personnel. A day later, global marketing chief Joel Ewanick suddenly leaves. Instead of wishing him all the best for his future endeavors, GM spokesman Greg Martin puts a knife in Ewanick’s back: “He failed to meet the expectations the company has of an employee.” Read More >
Managers of premium auto brands keep asking themselves (and sometime me): “What is the secret of Audi’s success?” 30 years ago, Audi had an image worse than Opel. Last April, Audi outsold Bavarian rival BMW for the first time on a global basis. These days, any large automaker that has a luxury division seeks to emulate Audi’s success. Now, Nissan’s Infiniti could be one step closer to getting its hands in Audi’s elusive secret sauce. They hired one of Audi’s key men. Read More >
Today, I happened to be at Toyota’s Tokyo headquarters in order to personally get to the bottom of numbers nobody seems to care about. There was a minor riot in the usually zen-like lobby of 1-4-18 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku. TTAC was there to investigate … Read More >
Bill Cosby’s farewell to Carroll Shelby.