Ferdinand Piech, chairman of the Volkswagen Group, repeated his denial of a report last week in the German Handelsblatt newspaper that he would step down for health reasons in the next few months and be replaced by VW CEO Martin Winterkorn. Piech furthermore said that he will at least serve out the full term of his current contract, which runs into 2017, leaving open the possibility that he will continue to run the Volkswagen empire even longer. “I will stay for at least as long as my contract runs,” Piech told reporters at the Frankfurt Motor Show, “I’m feeling good.”
Following the departure of chief operating officer Carlos Tavares, Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn has announced that the company will be adding two new divisions to the existing finance, human resources and CEO office functions. Thierry Bolloré is being appointed Chief Competitive Officer, with responsibilities for Design-Product-Programs, Engineering-Quality-IS/IT, Purchasing, Manufacturing and Supply chain. Bolloré’s replacement as executive vice president in charge of manufacturing and supply chain will be Jose Vicente de los Mozos, reporting to Bolloré. The new position of Chief Performance Officer will be filled by Jérôme Stoll, with responsibilities for Sales & Marketing function, and coordinating Renault’s international operations, which apparently will have more autonomy. Michael van der Sande was named senior vice president for Marketing, replacing Stephen Norman, a member of Renault’s management committee, whose future appointment will be announced separately. Bolloré and Stoll will both report to Ghosn, whose published statement said, “Our objective was to take fast, transparent action by putting in place a clear and simple organization. The aim is threefold: to accelerate and expand our ongoing progress, to ensure performance at Group level and to give the regions more responsibility.”
Biographies after the jump. Read More >
Saying it was a personal decision to step back and reassess his priorities, Cadillac vice president for global strategic development Don Butler announced his resignation in an email. “As I’ve told others, I just need to take a step back to recalibrate, reassess my priorities,” Butler said. “I know it’s time for a change but I don’t know what’s next. I’m trusting that God will provide.”
Yesterday I was out for a walk when I saw an accident happen. It wasn’t a bad one, the driver of a small delivery truck came off the clutch and his rig hopped forward and smacked the back of the small SUV stopped at the light ahead of him. The light changed and the two trucks involved pulled across the intersection and the drivers got out. The driver of the SUV was a well to do looking woman in a business suit and when saw the damage to the back of her car, smashed rear bumper and piece missing from the plastic bumper cover – there may have been other things, but I really wasn’t that close – she absolutely flipped out in the middle of the street. It go so intense that I am sure the sound of her shrill shrieking is still suspended in space somewhere over the city even now. Read More >
Susan Docherty, a life-long career woman at GM, suddenly wants to stay at home with her husband and 13 year old son, or so GM wants us to believe. According to Selim Bingol’s troops, Docherty “announced her intention to leave General Motors to spend time with her family, effective September 30.” Docherty is 49, that’s no retirement age.
Three years ago, Ed Niedermeyer and TTAC was “looking forward to her departure from General Motors.” Now his wish is fulfilled. In the tradition of Farago’s death watches, things always take a little longer than expected at GM, but eventually, they happen. Usually, they happen too late. Read More >
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 >