Ford’s board of directors has confirmed Mark Fields as the Blue Oval’s next CEO. Current CEO Alan Mulally will depart on July 1st, with Fields assuming the post immediately.
Looking for a change in leadership once CEO Steve Ballmer steps down, Microsoft has announced its shortlist of five potential candidates, including current Ford CEO Ford Mullaly.
China has become an area of tremendous potential for companies as the nominally communist country has embraced capitalism. The hybrid result, according to Ford CEO Alan Mulally, is in some ways an improvement on what’s been a pretty sluggish and inefficient democratic process elsewhere in the world.
Toyota COO Jim Lentz will be getting a new role – CEO of Toyota Motor Sales North America. The announcement was buried in a press release announcing other management changes at Toyota’s stateside operations.
Bob Nardelli will be leaving Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm that famously owned Chrysler during the company’s 2009 bankruptcy. Nardelli served as Chrysler CEO from 2007 until the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
SvD.se reports that Paul Akerlund, Saab’s former IF Metall (one of Sweden’s largest trade unions) representative and now Trollhättan Municipal Council Chairman, has called for the resignation of Saab CEO Victor Muller, saying
I do not think Victor Muller is a good president. He is an owner and a contractor, but he has not sufficient knowledge about how to manage production and development
And Akerlund is no city government busybody, but a longtime company insider who has been influential in Saab’s post-GM life. Having shepherded Saab through the challenges of the past two years, this is another grim sign that Saab is about to succumb to the realities that have dominated TTAC’s Saab coverage for years now. A commentary in SvD, titled “Thank Muller for Painful Bankruptcy” sums up the somber mood in Sweden:
[Saab] has been on artificial respiration for nearly two years. It is down now, and from all indications we can only conclude that the whole process was a painfully protracted bankruptcy. And we have only one person to thank for it.
The Detroit News snagged a lengthy interview with GM CEO Dan Akerson, giving observers one of the first in-depth looks at the man who will be leading The General for the next three to four years. The interview is to lengthy to summarize here, but there are a few items that are worth noting…
Despite not having spent a dime on the US firm, Fiat is widely credited with “rescuing” Chrysler. Here’s another way of looking at it: the United States taxpayers bailed out Fiat, an Italian firm with no presence in the US market. For no money down, Fiat got a 20 percent stake in a Chrysler that, although troubled, had been rinsed clean in bankruptcy. Now, analysts looking at Fiat’s spin-off of its automotive unit are telling Automotive News [sub] that
Fiat’s 20 percent stake in Chrysler, currently with a zero book value, is the biggest positive element seen by analysts for the new Fiat S.p.A., which will comprise the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Ferrari and Maserati car brands when it starts trading on Jan. 3. Fiat’s truck and tractor units will be spun off on the same day into a new unit called Fiat Industrial S.p.
Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is an agonizing character. There can be no doubt that he’s one of the smartest execs in the business, and yet he so often comes off as the stuffy, pedantic college professor, who sputters into ad hominem at the faintest sign of criticism. His speeches often revolve around stock speaking points and a copy of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, and as the video above proves, his delivery is rarely inspiring. But between the Einstein quotes and plaintive self-sympathy, Marchionne can offer moments of unexpected candor. His speech to Chrysler’s dealers earlier this week offered several such moments, and though it’s too long (and, frankly, boring) to reprint in its entirety (click here for the whole thing), here are a few stunners from the mind of Marchionne.
Editor’s Note: GM’s outgoing Chairman/CEO Ed Whitacre sent the following email to GM’s senior executives today [via Detroit News]
My goal in coming to General Motors was to help restore profitability, build a strong market position and prepare this iconic company for success. While we have more to do, it is fair to say that GM is headed on that path. Our earnings for the last two quarters show that. Our strong sales show that. And the enthusiasm from everyone I meet at GM shows that.
We are on the right track. And I have complete confidence that Dan Akerson will keep us moving forward. Dan is committed to GM; he’s been a key player in the decisions our Board has made over the last year. He will do a great job, and deserves your complete support.
I have enjoyed my time as CEO of GM more than I can say, and I am pleased to stay on as Chairman through the end of the year. I am excited about this company, and I want you to know that it is the people of GM who make this a very special place. You are the best, and I truly appreciate all you do.
Thank you for the privilege of leading this great company. I am anxious to see the new heights that you will achieve as you continue focusing on designing, building and selling the world’s best vehicles.