The Truth About Cars » Whitacre The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 19 Jul 2014 05:27:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Whitacre Whitacre’s Book Reveals Secret Of Unseasoned GM CEOs Thu, 24 Jan 2013 03:36:46 +0000

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:

“Mark had zoomed up the executive chain in record time; he went from midlevel engineer to the No. 2 person in the company in the space of a year, more or less. The plus was that Mark was showing a lot of poise and management potential. The downside was that he hadn’t been in the job long enough to prove himself as a CEO.”

“One thing everybody agreed on: Mark had a lot of potential. The only concern was his short time in the job. If we asked him to step into the CEO’s job, and it didn’t work out, that would be a disaster for Mark – and an even bigger disaster for GM. The company needed stability. The revolving door in the CEO’s suite had to stop. At this point Dan Akerson volunteered to do the job.”

Akerson likes to promote the storyline that he had been drafted into running GM, and that it was “a call to service.” Just the opposite is true, writes Whitacre:

“Akerson wanted to be chairman and CEO from day one. When Dan put his hand up, that took care of the problem. Not very elegant, I will admit. But that’s how it played out.”

64 year old Akerson does not want to talk about retirement. Many hope, some demand that he would.

Along with Reuss, Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann, global product development chief Mary Barra, and, god help GM, Vice Chairman Steve Girsky are being discussed as possible replacements.

Running a car company is a highly complex matter, it probably is one of the most demanding jobs on earth. Successful CEOs, such as Akio Toyoda, Carlos Ghosn, or Ferdinand Piech all know what it takes to build a car and how to run a car company. Akerson is still learning, and GM does not need an apprentice on top.

Whitacre’s book, “American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA,” will be published Feb. 5 by Business Plus books.

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Detroit Compensation Report: Mulally Made $12.8m, GM and Chrysler Cut Back Mon, 22 Mar 2010 14:04:48 +0000

The Detroit Free Press reports that Ford’s Alan Mulally made $12.8m last year, nearly double the $7.53m he made in 2008. Despite a considerable increase in Mulally’s overall compensation, his cash salary actually declined to $1.4m, from about $2m in 2008. In addition to the $12.85m he made in salary, bonuses and other compensation, Mulally banked a further $5.05m in stock options. Chairman Bill Ford Jr. continues to work without compensation, although he continues to accrue stock options worth $16.8m. Those options can not be exercised until the firm’s auto operations are profitable. And while Ford’s 2009 profits justify big executive payouts, federal pay czar Ken Feinberg has cut back on executive compensation at bailed-out automakers GM and Chrysler.

Fourteen GM executives received base salaries of over $500k in 2009, reports Reuters, but that number is coming down. Feinberg tells reporters:

In General Motors, there will be some people that the company has convinced me should be receiving compensation in excess of $500,000 in base cash salary, there will be some of them…[but] this year we have cut back

Chrysler and Chrysler Financial might also have executives making as much as half a million dollars, but, says Feinberg, GMAC won’t. The troubled auto and mortgage lender has come under fire from congress in recent days, as its bailout has been subjected to withering criticism from the Congressional TARP Oversight Panel.

GM Chairman/CEO Ed Whitacre is on track to make $1.7m this year, along with $7.3m in stock-related compensation, as his pay package has already been approved by Feinberg. Also already-approved is GM Senior Advisor Steve Girsky’s $1.1m compensation package. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is paid by Fiat, meaning his primary compensation is not subject to Feinberg’s rulings. He made $600k in Feinberg-approved stock options last year (which cannot be cashed in for three years), but his Fiat compensation totaled $6.5m (€4.8m) according to Bloomberg.

Feinberg’s final pay rulings will be released tomorrow.

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