Quote of the Day: Red Ink Rick Only Rings Twice Edition

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
quote of the day red ink rick only rings twice edition

I don’t know how many times we’ve pointed out that the blame for GM’s descent into bankruptcy ultimately lies deeply and completely with the automakers’ Board of Bystanders. Yes, GM CEO (and Chairman of the Board) Rick Wagoner drove the artist formerly known as the world’s largest automaker into a wall. But the Board threw him the keys, patted him on the back, walked back inside the house and played Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. To wit: “In an interview with The Detroit News, [BoD member] Kathryn Marinello ruled out the ‘fantasy’ of a prepackaged bankruptcy, which requires advance agreements with stakeholders before a filing, something that has never been attempted on such a large scale.” After reading our own Richard Tilton’s treatise on the matter, I disagree completely. But hey, it sounds reasonable. This however… “She strongly defended GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, calling him ‘the mailman,’ because ‘he always delivers. He is the only person that can keep the automotive industry alive in America,” said Marinello, chairman and CEO of Ceridian Corp., an information services company based in Minneapolis. ‘Not just keep it alive, but make it the technology and green leader.'” That’s incredible.

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  • John Williams John Williams on Dec 07, 2008
    Which brings us to the stockholders. In America, each share of stock you buy (except at Ford) entitles you to one vote. Every year, no matter what boneheaded decisions are made and who is nominated, the shareholders of GM blindly go along and support the Board member slate and their agenda, in overwhelming percentages. If you can figure this one out (I never have, but I’m getting closer), you’ll have a better understanding of what is wrong with America. You own a share of stock, but your immediate interest is whether or not you can maximize your return on it, i.e. "can I make a crapload of money off this stock in the future?" Technically, the more stocks you own, the higher your clout is within the board. What we have here are people who own a lot of shares of these auto stocks, but they're also the same people who golf/dine/wine/hobnob with these execs and more than likely share the same mindset they do. They own millions of shares of these stocks. You might own a few thousand, if you're just a stock market small-fry. Your opinion, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't count for much, if at all.

  • Detroit-Iron Detroit-Iron on Dec 07, 2008

    The shareholders that voted for these clowns will be amply rewarded when their equity (what little is left) goes up a whiff of bankruptcy scented smoke.

  • ERJR ERJR on Dec 07, 2008

    Wagoner's inabilities are so obvious even Chris Dodd today mentioned he was in favor of Wagoner leaving as one of the bailout conditions. The guy is completely clueless and has left GM on autopilot for years. He also does not know what is going on inside his own company. One of the senators asked about a rumor of plant expansion in Mexico. He said he would go back and check on that but he was unaware. How can he be unaware of a large capital expenditure such as plant expansion at a time when they are shutting the elevators off and putting all product development on hold?

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Dec 07, 2008
    I cannot remember the author nor the title but it clearly showed that GM under Engineering Mgt was a thriving, vibrant, competitive, world-class company and that just 10-years or 3-model-turns later it was out of touch. They also made cars that were needlessly complex and badly targeted. Engineers can run a company into the ground even more quickly than accountants, if for no other reason than a bad management of engineers has no fiscal discipline. Bad engineers think they know better than customers (or good marketing people) and the result is often an expensive car that no one wants to buy. What you want is good management, regardless of background. Fujio Cho (Toyota) is a lawyer; Kat Watanabe a business major, as is Hyundai's Chung Mong-koo. Takeo Fukui is an engineer, as are Ferdinand Karl Piëch (VW) and Norbert Reithofer (BMW), and you'll see all three companies kick out the occasional "huh?" car. Rick Wagoner is a bad leader for GM at this time. Not a lot of vision, no strategy, no unifying plan--and it wouldn't matter what letters he had after his name.