It’s easy to blame GM’s new Chairman and CEO’s recent webchat performance on the format. Webchats invariably combine the awkward claustrophobia of conference calls with the eloquent clarity of text-messaging, for a match made in communication hell. That’s no place to properly explain what the NSFW is going on with your company. Especially when you have yet to comment on the “Opel drama,” “palace coup,” “tilt-a-executive,” and “getting in bed with the Chinese” storylines (among others). Needless to say, the MSM is not amused. Nor, frankly, am I. Which is why today’s quote of the day is actually nine days old.
GM’s government-appointed Chairman of the Board was out and about last night, speechifying at Texas Lutheran University. Ed Whitacre used the occasion to plea for the “modification” of Pay Czar Kenneth’s Feinberg’s pay caps. To recap the caps, the nationalized automaker’s top 25 executives took a 31 percent hair cut since joining the federal payroll. Aside from CEO Fritz “Opel Eyes” Henderson, that is, who had his cash compensation trimmed by just 25 percent (from $1.26 million to a paltry $950,000). Leaving only one other unnamed GM executive—cough, transparency, cough—who will “earn” more than $500,000 cash money for 2009. ‘Cause $500,000’s the new limit. And Ed’s not happy about that. “To find top-level people where you need them, that’s a more difficult thing to do at that salary level,” Whitacre said. “I don’t think [the caps] will be lifted, but hopefully they’ll be modified.” Now there’s a man who knows the value of politics. As for the value of GM stock, same deal. Or, in this case, no deal.