Fortune: American Axle CEO Poster Child For All That's Wrong With Detroit

John Horner
by John Horner
fortune american axle ceo poster child for all that s wrong with detroit
Back in Chrysler's salad days, Dick Dauch was the much-admired head-busting manufacturing boss in an executive suite lined with power players like Lee Iacocca and Bob Lutz. Competing egos served as a check on individual power and privilege. My, how things have changed. Lee's pimping with Snoop, Lutz is nutz (and well-paid for it too) and Alex Taylor III is dissing Dick (in his own special way). Taylor's talking about the American Axle CEO's "less appealing side." In fact, Taylor's "pin the tale of D3 woe on the greedy bastard" profile reveals that American Axle is a public company in name only. Get this: American Axle's corporate address is One Dauch Drive. Son David was recently promoted to President and COO, after other son Richard quit working for dad. And the compensation committee paid Dauch over $18m last year [ yes, that's $3.95m more than we thought previously]. Of course, our man Alex can't quite step-away from the pom-poms: "There's no question that Dauch has built a successful company, and he has done good deeds for the city of Detroit by locating his headquarters within city limits. But he has left American Axle grievously unprepared for the market shift away from sport utility vehicles." What about Dick's charitable work? And where was Taylor's self-righteous sarcasm last year, when Dauch pulled down $3.9m plus?
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  • on Jul 02, 2008

    American Axle was a decrepit mess when Dauch took the reigns. I worked there a little before Dauch came in and the place was full of grease covered antique equipment. The nickname was 'Greasy Gear'. Dauch did a great job and now has disgraced himself. This destruction of the American auto industry is becoming so much a real life version of "Atlas Shrugged".

  • John Horner John Horner on Jul 02, 2008

    So Luther, do you believe it is appropriate for the CEO of a public company to install family members in executive positions and pay himself extraordinarily well while at the same time slashing pay for the hourly workers? If so, please say so. Attacking Alex Taylor or any other writer on personal grounds doesn't get to the heart of the issues.

  • Shaker Shaker on Jul 03, 2008

    As long as there are a few crumbs left for the workers, Ayn Rand will be satisfied.

  • Geeber Geeber on Jul 03, 2008
    Luther: It takes huge effort and intelligence to build a $3B company…What did the elitist parasite Alex Taylor III ever do? It's supposed to be a public company, so raising questions about nepotism is completely valid. If it were the Dauch Axel Company, Taylor would have no grounds to complain, as it would be the Dauch family fortune on the line. But it's not.