By on December 1, 2009

Meet the new boss...

GM’s board accepted Fritz Henderson’s resignation today, and its Chairman Ed Whitacre will serve as CEO until a replacement is found. A search for a new President/CEO will begin immediately. Whitacre took no questions, saying the day had been “hectic.” A spokesman said the resignation was a decision reached mutually by Fritz and the board, based on the company’s “current position.” The spokesman refused to answer further questions about the leadership change, prompting one journalist to ask why GM hadn’t simply issued a release, rather than calling a conference. “This is stupid,” he said. The spokesman revealed that the government “was notified after the board’s decision,” and referred questions of hiring practice to the federal paymaster, Kenneth Feinberg. Otherwise, there are no real answers coming out of today’s statement and brief question-and-evasion period. Whitacre’s statement is after the jump.

At its monthly meeting in Detroit today, the General Motors Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Fritz Henderson as Director, President and CEO of the company.

Fritz has done a remarkable job in leading the company through an unprecedented period of challenge and change. While momentum has been building over the past several months, all involved agree that changes needed to be made. To this end, I have taken over the role of Chairman and CEO while an international search for a new president and CEO begins immediately. With these new duties, I will begin working in the Renaissance Center headquarters on a daily basis. The leadership team – many who are with me today – are united and committed to the task at hand.

I want to assure all of our employees, dealers, suppliers, union partners and most of all, our customers, that GM’s daily business operations will continue as normal. I remain more convinced than ever that our company is on the right path and that we will continue to be a leader in offering the worldwide buying public the highest quality, highest value cars and trucks. We now need to accelerate our progress toward that goal, which will also mean a return to profitability and repaying the American and Canadian tax payers as soon as possible.

In closing, I want to once again thank Fritz Henderson for his years of leadership and service to General Motors; we’re grateful for his many contributions. I look forward to working with the entire GM team as we now begin the next chapter of this great company.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

102 Comments on “Ed Whitacre To Replace Fritz Henderson as Interim GM CEO...”


  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    I’m going to my local betting shop and putting a bet on for Bob Lutz to be CEO in the next 4 months. What do you reckon my odds are?

  • avatar
    daro31

    Hey pick me, I will do almost nothing for half the money! I have 30 years in the auto industry before downsizing; know the difference between profit and loss. Heck I am even good at going to meetings and trying to not rock the boat. Plus it would help lower the unemployment numbers. Where do I sent my resume?    

  • avatar
    Verbal

    It seems that GM has an unlimited supply of company lifers to fill the revolving door CEO position.  White guys from the Midwest rule!

    • 0 avatar
      moedaman

      The problem isn’t because he is white or from the midwest. The problem with Fritz, the US automakers and the US economy in general is that too many corporations are run by guys with business degrees from UM, Harvard  or Yale. From the outside looking in, it seems to me that none of those schools teaches business ethics. These execs are only looking out for themselves and not the company they’re working for. None of them will “take one for the team” unless it comes with a multi-million dollar parachute. And the BOD’s are filled with ex-management types with business degrees from the same mentioned schools, who are just enablers for the selfish and corrupt CEO/CFO’s.

  • avatar
    threeer

    maybe Fritz grew a spine and was embarrassed by the “may the best car win” marketing strategy GM is foisting on all of us…nah, that’s probably not it.  Are any of us really surprised by this??

  • avatar
    ajla

    Please make Docherty the next to go.

  • avatar
    keepaustinweird

    As a PR professional, there’s a fair amount of schadenfreude having just watched the GM press conference. Why in the world would you decide to hold a press conference if you aren’t prepared to take or answer questions? The easy answer would have been issuing a press statement and leaving it at that. But then again, if GM knew what the right thing to do was, they wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.

  • avatar
    truthbetold37

    1st Fritz is a goober
    2nd because he contradicted Whitacre in public regarding needing loans from Germany to finance Opel’s restructuring.

  • avatar

    I think Fritz knew that he was going to get fired by President Obama for letting the Saab, Saturn and Opel deals fall through, and he saved face by jumping on the sword.
    That doesn’t sound too farfetched, does it?

    • 0 avatar

      Speaking of Saab, did they say what’s going to happen? Are they going to mercy kill the brand, or do they have another sucker bidder lined up?

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Obama isn’t running GM.  The Saab deal and Saturn deal would have fallen through anyway.  Opel was a decision from the board.  Don’t kid yourself.

    • 0 avatar

      Steven02-
       
      I voted for Obama, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy with the GM situation and his handling of it. It could have been handled better.
       
      As for Saab, they’re not dead yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I didn’t say anything pro/con about Obama.  I just said he wasn’t running GM.  It wasn’t his decision to make nor should it be.  On the Saab thing, they aren’t dead yet, but the deal did fall through.  So, I don’t understand your points at all.  Whitacre wasn’t happy with Fritz performance.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Those watching on the global stage must really be scratching their heads now. Or laughing their butts off. Can GM do any thing right? When will this taxpayer funded circus end?

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Maybe Fritz just didn’t like meeting in the “Groovy Room.”

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    For all of us hoping that GM will survive Christmas just came early!!!!
     
    Wagoner, LaNeve, Henderson gone, Lutz pigeonholed at Opel, that leaves only Docherty left to get the boot. Lutz will not replace Henderson.

  • avatar

    I think they’ll go outside GM for a replacement.

    Isn’t Jim Press available and in need of a paycheck?

    j/k

  • avatar
    Maverick

    Gotta love Ed Whitacre.  Total kick ass guy.
    This is the culture change that GM needs.  Nothing shakes up a company more than a good sacking.
    I predict an outside hire a la Alan Mulally.  Let’s just hope that it isn’t Ghosn.  Or Jim Press (lame dick passive aggressive).
    How about Wolfgang Bernhard?

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Is Jack Welsh still alive?  Too bad George W. Romney has been dead for almost 15 years, I could just see him now; “What would you do if you had to compete with the Koreans and the Japanese?”  Don’t forget that AMC did ok under his care from 1954 to 1962, at least better than GM and Chrysler are doing right now.

      How bout Lee Iaccoca?  As a previous poster suggested I’ll do! 

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      While George Romney is “unavailable”, perhaps his son might want to take a crack at it?  If ever there was a “public service” job that’d be it. 

      I mean, it’s not like he’s going to run in 2012 anyway if he ever wants to be president.

      [/end sniffing glue]

    • 0 avatar
      jjmcubed

      If you know anything about how much AT&T/at&t made under that guy, but he is a ruthless guy that made his last company $$$$$$$.
      Institutional Shareholder Services reported that AT&T outperforms 96% of companies in the S&P 500 index and 100% of telecom service providers.
      Some amazing  paragrahs from Wikipedia: Whitacre’s compensation for 2006 totaled $61 million,  $17 million in 2005, and about $14 million in 2004.
      On April 27, 2007, at the AT&T annual stockholders meeting, Whitacre announced his intent to retire as Chairman of the Board and chief executive officer at AT&T Inc., effective June 3. The Board of Directors elected Randall Stephenson to succeed Whitacre as the new CEO and Chairman of the Board. On June 4th, 2007 Ed Whitacre retired with Randall Stephenson taking the helm the following morning (June 5th, 2007). Upon retirement, Whitacre was eligible for a $158 million payout from AT&T. Following retirement, under his employment contract Whitacre is entitled to receive some continuing benefits, including automobile use, access to AT&T’s corporate aircraft for up to ten hours per month, use of AT&T office facilities and support staff , home security, club memberships, and payment of applicable taxes resulting from these benefits, except for use of the aircraft. In addition, Whitacre has a three year consulting contract with AT&T for which he will be paid about $1 million annually.

    • 0 avatar
      jjmcubed

      Sorry for the readability on the above post.  Thought I had double-spaced.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      Do tell me what Wolfgang did properly…

      I can think of 5 reasons why he should be strung up..
      1. Panamera
      2. Leading Porsche in attempt takeover of VW
      3. Almost going bankrupt in the process.. only to take a cash infusion from the Arabs.
      4. See #1-3.
      5. If that doesnt work.. ask yaself since when does PORSCHE need a sedan.

      As for Jim Press..
      Im beginning to think.. that he couldnt do a magic trick… if it wasnt pre-rigged.

      I know…
      How bout we go re-hire that WINNER Mark LeNave..

      And Ghosn..
      Im seeing him as a guy who is almost a standard domestic auto CEO. Cuts everything to the bone and rebuilds. The same guy who says hybrid business is bunk.. then turns around and releases a vehicle called the Leaf.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Hey, maybe Mark Fields is available LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @AccAzda, I suspect you’re thinking of Wendelin Wiedeking.
       
      Wolfgang Bernhard rose through the ranks at Daimler-Benz to COO, and then jumped ship to run the VW brand.  He got thrown out with Bernd Pischetsrieder (there is another credible candidate for you) when Ferdinand Piech flexed his muscles and wanted his own guys in charge at VW.  A strong operations background, not a product guy, but that’s not necessarily what GM needs at the very top anyway.
       
      But I think Pischetsrieder may be the best of the available industry candidates.  Apart from the Rover debacle, he did very impressive work at both BMW and VW.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      The company he operated is / was a SERVICE company. Just like Dell.. they both dont make ANYTHING. Just are both essentially logistic companies.

      As I often read from Peter Delorenzo.. and hes more frequently right than wrong.. ya cant just take a CEO from any other company (outside of manufacturing) and expect it to work properly.

      This is why Mullaly is doing well. He has some clue.

      But as for as Bernhard goes..
      Wasnt he involved somehow in the failure of DaimlerChrysler?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @AccAzda,
       
      Bernhard left DaimlerChrysler in 2004 after being passed over for the top job at Mercedes-Benz.  I believe that the only real involvement he had with the Chrysler operations was in achieving cost cuts from the supplier base.

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    The “Whack-A-Mole” started with Wagoner, now Fritz. Next.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Well, this should make TTAC happy.  Whitacre will get a new CEO who will change things drastically.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    Whether Fritz Henderson should have gone or not is one thing. But this looks like a coup rather than something planned. That’s not good.

    If you want to fire Henderson, line up his successor first. He had to know that he was on probation, a caretaker of sorts. Let him stay until the new guy is on board.

    And if you want to fire Henderson, do it with some class. And forethought. Not during a board meeting that is so “hectic” that it leaves the Chairman of the Board unwilling to talk. 

    • 0 avatar

      Bingo. This says more about – and confirms – the disarray in the boardroom than anything else about this move.

      The problem is, during this game of corporate Hot Potato, when even your potential brand buyers think your product portfolio is empty, it’s tough to find a new patsy.

      IIHO GM re-badged itself here. You don’t buy and create brands, remove the innovation and discernment between them, then successfully sell a hollow brand name. I’m betting Saab and Saturn follow Pontiac swiftly into the junk heap, and even the Chinese wise up to the Hummer facade.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Isn’t Jim Press available and in need of a paycheck?
     
    Katsuaki Watanabe is also available and in need of a paycheck.
     
     
    Is Jack Welsh still alive?
     
    Unfortunately, yes.
     
    How bout Lee Iaccoca?  As a previous poster suggested I’ll do!
     
    Iaccoca is highly overrated.  He’s a good product guy, and GM needs good product, but his tenure and Chrysler saw reliability go from abysmal to just plain bad.  He’s another era’s car guy, and not what they need today.

    • 0 avatar
      PeteMoran

      @ psarhjinian
       
      Watanabe has been playing golf everyday since.
       
      Besides which, I would seriously suspect that his handshake has him out of the car business for 2 years (or more) minimum.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Some of you may believe Fritz “contradicted” Whitacre, or that Mr. Ed “sacked” Fritz, but it’s probably the other way around.  Whitacre cut Fritz off at the knees by publicly, and insultingly, contradicting what Fritz had been saying about Opel.  Whitacre has a long history of countermanding executives, and they in turn have a long record of bailing out after seeing his abrupt,  seat of the pants decision-making.  Fritz wasn’t pushed, he jumped. Whitacre is going to run GM in his top-down, Texas gunslinger style until it crashes, or until PTFOA forces him to join Wagoner.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      Why would Henderson leave now, so abruptly? I just don’t see it happening that way. I think he was pushed.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Call me a naive GM employee who still believes in chivalry, but I think Fritz knew the writing on the wall (see my post below) and that the BoD are ladies and gentlemen and let Fritz save a little face by resigning.  Maybe the ‘push’ happened in August with the understanding that it could be made to look like a jump.

    • 0 avatar
      jolo

      Pushed or jumped, it doesn’t matter.  What I’m interested in is if he was given a golden parachute or a lead one.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      I have no inside knowledge, but I’m fairly certain Henderson jumped, and surprised the board with his announcement — or at least gave the board an ultimatum along the lines of “let me run this company or else”.
       
      If the board had decided to get rid of Henderson, they would have been far more prepared, and would have most likely already have the successor lined up.  Or at least a search in progress.
       
      This has all the hallmarks of a voluntary jump.

    • 0 avatar
      jjmcubed

      If I’m to guess here, Ed Whitacre will run GM for at least a couple of months.  Most likely they wanted Ed to run the whole show, but he said “I’ll run it until it turns around, then I’ll step aside to have my options.”
      I’ll bet you a Pennie, that is how confident I am.

  • avatar
    mach1

    ajla wrote: “Please make Docherty the next to go.”
    I would rather see Docherty next “n charge”  and then the GM saga would come to its logical end and the taxpayers’ purse would be more secure.
     

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Jack Welch layed the groundwork for the destruction of GE. GE will never recover. Mulalley is killing Ford. GM might make it with a new leader.

  • avatar
    Gregg

    Where’s Buickman. Here’s his chance.

  • avatar
    Christy Garwood

    IIRC, Fritz made public announcements shortly after meeting the new GM BoD for the first time, that it was made clear to him that he had to have results fast, which I personally interpreted as profits in 90 days. GM’s managerial results were reported last month and there were losses. 

    As  a GM employee, I am glad to see the BoD step up to management and demand positive results.  And I am also concerned that a new CEO will see the need for more cost cutting aka employee separations to get profits.  

    Robert Farago, if you are reading this, my wager still stands. If I am employed by GM in October 2010, you come to Detroit Metro to collect a top shelf round on me.  But I have to admit, my confidence today is less than when I made the original wager. 

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Maybe Fritz just didn’t like working for his new government-mandated wage.  The Saab/Saturn/Hummer/Pontiac death march just wasn’t worth it to him.  If that was it, I don’t blame him for jumping.
     
    They should hire someone from Apple.  They build products Americans want.

  • avatar
    tced2

    Hmmm.  Let’s see we’ve replaced an accountant (Henderson) with a telephone guy (Whitacre).  Aren’t there any lawyers available?

  • avatar
    NickR

    Please stop mentioning Jack Welch…he was at the peak of his popularity during my biz school years and I am sick to death of hearing about him.

    Maybe he was just following Ricky Roma’s advice ‘Something you’d know if you’d ever spent a day…never open your mouth until you know what the shot is.’   Ed doesn’t know what the shot is.

  • avatar

    Jerry York for CEO.

  • avatar
    levi

    Gotta love the drama. 

    Whoever the next CEO is, you can bet PTFOA will have a heavy hand in it behind the scenes.

  • avatar
    cardeveloper

    Not a chance in hell Lutz will be in charge.  RenCen doesn’t have enough room for his and Whitacre’s ego.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I wonder when the Fritz tell-all/insider book will come out? Maybe we can suggest the title for him.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    One word: Watanabe. Toyota’s cast-off would be GM’s best bet. Screw Jim Press, Iacocca, or anyone else even slightly associated with any other U.S. automaker present or past. Look at the competition that has kicked your ass, and pick up whatever you can from them.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I nominate Fritz’s daughter.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-you-know-besides-all-the-obvious-stuff-edition/

  • avatar
    lahru

    The way I see it is that Mullaly had time to prepare and has done so. Chrysler was a mess when Daimler showed up and GM did their usual we are GM and we can do whatever we want because we are GM.
    The problem I see ahead is GM sold alot of vehicles in November.
    But, did they make money?
    Probably not. What was the cash burn?
    Until this is known it is still a waiting game. Whitacre can expain away that he was tasked by Washington to take the helm as COTB and explain away whatever happens to GM.
    The new CEO job is not being filled because Whiteacre now has free rein to compete with Mullaley without the time and process of getting everyone onboard to get ready for the battle ahead. Sucks to be him and he has enough ego to fit right in at the RenCen. We are only a 1/4 of the way thru this whole thing and it is going to get ugly in a couple of months.
     
    How’s that Volt comin’?

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Wolfgang Bernhard is overqualified.
    Katsuaki Watanabe is the guy who put Toyota in the (wrong) path they are in.
    Lee Iacocca, too old and is actually the person responsible for Chrysler’s demise. He chose the lame Bob “push me over and I’ll pocket the money” Eaton.
    Neutron Jack Welch – too old.
    Lutz – bigger ego than Whitacre, see Iacocca.
    A replacement will probably be someone from Walmart, Caterpillar or ???

  • avatar
    segfault

    Why are comments closed on the post above this one? It’s full of comedy gold.  “IM,” “piece of shift,” “foresaken,” and “every again.”

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    What about former GM board member Percy Barnevik? A Wallenberg man, former CEO of Wallenbergs crown jewel Investor and ABB. When he retired as CEO of ABB, he recieved the biggest golden parachute in Sweden yet, in about 100 million dollars, mid-90’s. It is said that he had been offered the CEO of both GM and GE, but declined in loyalty to the Wallenbergs. He resigned this spring from GM:s BoD on account of the Saab affair.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      The biggest problem that strikes me…
      He doesnt have a foggy clue about running a manufacturing company. And being on a GM board is as uesless as it gets.

      What GM needs.. is MANUFACTURING experience.
      Not some rich asshole.. who has more money than sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      Oh, but he does. He started his career at Sandvik, and ABB is in manufacturing. In fact, the companies he run, are all belonging to the strong manufacturing base in Sweden. But hey, I’m only dropping names…

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Percy was roundly criticized here in Switzerland when he jumped the ABB ship … left it listing heavily, and ended up IIRC giving back a big chunk of his golden parachute.

  • avatar
    lw

    This is not good…
    1) It wasn’t planned…
    2) Fritz didn’t take the fall for anything.  Would have been better to wait for a clear failure and then he resigns.  Maybe a delay in the Volt or needing another bailout.
    Doesn’t look good for anyone…

    • 0 avatar
      PeteMoran

      @ lw
       
      Your comments are interesting. Push or fall, there must have been performance targets for Henderson that are not met. That has to be a concern, which makes me (like you perhaps) believe there is significant bad news coming.
       
      I would suspect it has to do with the unsold dead brands and the Opel debacle.  Perhaps they’ve just discovered Opel will cost three times what Henderson thought.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    GM is finished. The musical chairs “who’s gonna be boss now” is moot. The company was drowned by its BoD and exec’s. They ‘ve been thumping the chest for a year, trying to breathe life into the Frankenstein company they created.
    It’s over.

  • avatar
    NTX

    “Neutron Jack” did more to ruin the GE and other industries that tried to follow his lead than any ONE person in history.  Just because your company makes massive amounts of money does not mean it’s well-run . . . except to Wall Street.  Where are all of the consumer products that made GE what it used to be?
    Jim Press, from what I saw of him on the Congressional hearings, it looked like he had few clues of far too many things.  Then, we learn that he’s deeply in debt, personally?  He was a highly-paid placeholder and nothing more, no matter how much Toyota-speak he might have known.
    Iacocca, he did well for what he had to do years ago. 
    Eaton did well when Chrysler was “printing money” in the 1990s, but allegedly derailed an Iacocca/Kerkorian takeover of Chrysler, which probably led to the flaky Daimler “merger of equals”.

    GM’s finances had been flaky for too many years.  They played to Wall Street, just a mere 5 cents more/share dividend set Wall Street all atwitter with happiness–by observation.  When they needed some money to cover things, they sold some long-term assets,with the comment “focusing on the core business”.  Well, they finally got to the point where there were no more assets to sell, and then we know what happened next.
    After Wagonner left, Fritz was “the choice”, but it should have been obvious that Fritz was a place-holder too.
    Funny thing is that with all of the emphasis on female buyers, in about 2005 GM’s best brands for women customers included Saturn and Pontiac.
    Lutz might be getting a little too vintage, but he’s probably got more product and costing sense than many might suspect.  Read his book.  With things electronic, being in Germany is no big thing for anybody.
    GM’s really much better than many people give it credit for, even some of the government operatives.  The prior “old” corporate culture of the 1980s did have its faults, but everybody seemed to be able to work around them . . . the newbies which replaced the older workers who were bought-off didn’t know how to do that and very possibly made some of the same mistakes (not knowing any better!), so the learning curve starts anew with each employee buy-out and unmentored employees are elevated.
    What I want to know is just where the “Smaller is better” merchandising business model came from????!!!!  In “retail”, the more places you have to sell your stuff, the more people that can buy it.  Fewer dealers=more high-pressure sales tactics=fewer sales for the respective corporation=less choice for the consumer in where to buy product or the product itself.

    ANY manager can “cut and whack” things down to smaller sizes, but GROWING the business seems to be something that NOBODY knows how to do any more!  OR, they don’t want to take the effort to grow as that takes longer for profits to happen, rather than “cuts” showing up on the next p/l statement as “profits”.

    I suspect there are plenty of “young guns” at GM that can make it what it needs to be, especially as a lot of the former Chrysler people (who worked with/under Lutz) jumped ship to GM.  Getting a management group that can recreate the same chemistry and magic that Chrysler had in the 1990s would be great, but improbable.

    A lot of GM’s observed problems have been due to “the Board”.  FEW are or appear to be vehicle enthusiasts.  It was “the Board” that got GM into the failed “brand management” orientations, circa 1992.  Proof positive that you can’t sell cars like you sell sun glasses!  The parade of people through divisional management offices did nothing to help GM get better . . . as  happened at Oldsmobile back then, just lose any real continuity of leadership from month to month.

    Whitacre may just be the person GM needs right now.  “Shoot from the hip” should mean you have the guts to make decisions that are right from the start, rather than being mamby-pamby wishy-washy, lets go to committee sort of reactions.  Similarly, “honor” would also mean that when you screw up, you admit it, figure out what went wrong, and then make it a learning experience to move things along better in the future.

    New CEO choices???  What about somebody from Holden?  They have been “down there’ doing really neat things with products and fewer resources for many years.  Obviously, somebody down there knows SOMETHING!

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    I see a pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel and it’s name is Michael D. Richards. Not Mr. Richards so much, but the fact that GM went ‘outside’ of GM to hire an executive at a key position today and that says a lot. Perhaps there is hope that Whitacre et al can find their own Alan Mulally.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      A buddy of mine worked for Richards…not a pleasant experience is his eyes, and not a kind word to say about this colossal jerk. The only thing that kept his career going at Ford was his mentor/buddy Bob Rewey. Once Rewey was gone, the writing was on the wall for Richards. Although I’m not sure there’s much out there in the public arena, Richards was involved in a number of incidents during his tenure of an “ahem” harrassment nature, if you know what I mean. I predict bad things as a result of this poorly thought out decision. He may not be from GM, but he’s definately part of bad/old Detroit.

      Edit: Seriously – anyone that works at GM: watch your back with this guy…he’s bad news. If he likes you he’ll probably take care of you, but if he doesn’t like you, it isn’t “let bygones be bygones” with this guy…he’ll make it his mission to wreck your career.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    How about the Germans? Aren’t there any names out there? There should be plenty of competent people out there, ousted in the recent Volkswagen/Porsche-dramas. Also at BMW and Daimler.

    And I don’t think GM is finished. Though, it’s ripe to pluck á la Carlos Ghosn taking over Nissan and turning it around. There is enough confusion around for some opportunist like Ghosn to strongarm himself and taking over lock stock and barrel. Or perhaps that is what Whitacre had in mind for himself? The point is, if ever someone saw his chance, this is now.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Must say I’m looking forward to the next chapter in this modern saga. It should be great fun! CNN Money says that Mr. Ed is completely uncompromising. That’ll be the best way to motivate the troops. Yup, honest-to-god Fear. Sell those buggies at a profit, OR ELSE.

    And while Ed dons his cowboy boots and marches around in rootin’-tootin’ take-no-prisoners “interim” style, we’ll see how Mr. and Mrs. Average Consumer take to the amazing GM products laid out for their delectation. Subaru sells as many Foresters as Buick sells in total each month!

    Goodness knows where this all will lead. But Mr. Ed (at some point in the future) marching round Europe on the Opel File will be an absolute delight to follow.

    Don’t wonder who GM’s future CEO will be. Whitacre will don that mantle himself, I shouldn’t be surprised. Why, it’s the least that a man of his magnificence could do to round out his career! Plus, would you want to be CEO with him breathing over your shoulder? On goverment pay? Some of the news reports I’ve read tonight give a pretty good idea of how Whitacre operates.

    As I said, this will be great fun to watch. The plot thickens.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Sarah’s got a mouth on her.

    You’d think that with the money he made at GM Fritz could have sent her to a skool were she could lern too spel.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      You’d think that with the money he made at GM Fritz could have sent her to a skool were she could lern too spel.

      Or some manners and breeding. Perhaps I’m a relic, but Charolette Ford would never use language like that. (sarcasm off)

      But actually, I think this “Sarah” is someone else trying to cause trouble. If you look at her profile, she is a 28-year-old in high school with ONE friend on Facebook…who is whining about her Daddy’s departure from GM.

      I smell a rat.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    If they want to keep the job in house, so to speak, how about trolling GM’s succesful overseas operations to pluck it’s CEO/MD. Like an operation that actually has succesfull export operations, can still operate on a shoestring budget, ignore/take advice from the mothership and still produce cars that are exported all over the world. Start looking now

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    I’m pretty confident that whoever Whitacre picks will be a mirror image of himself in that ‘take-no-prisoners’ style of his. Once that happens, I would expect to see a whole bunch of executive and mid-level firings and hirings,  most likely for the better but it sure will be interesting to watch GM management-lifers be told to achieve results for once instead of ‘going-along-to-get-along’ as they have for most of the last 35 years or so.
    With that said, all of that will be for naught if they don’t improve their dealers, the dealership experience and overall customer satisfaction. They should consider retaining the people that ran Saturn to do just that-they’re gonna need it in the most competitive, hard-fought car markets ever.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    The more I think about this, the less I like it. The best board members, and chairmen in particular, are those whose names you never even know.

    Board meetings are boring. And they should be. The only thing the board of a company like GM should do is hire and fire the CEO, and decide his or her compensation. That’s it.

    Whitacre taking over so abruptly and Henderson following Wagoner into “resignation” oblivion spells trouble. Who is in charge here? Anybody?

    My dream candidate for GM CEO is Mitt Romney. I’d love to see him made chairman of the board and CEO. Then given a year to turn things around and leave. That kind of thing, though it will never happen, might have a chance.

    This debacle means GM is a dead man walking. A zombie kept alive with billions in cash infusions. What a mess.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      MITT ROMNEY?!

      Are you serious?

      Does he have any manufacturing experience?
      Great another pres loser.

      This is the big shot?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney
      Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman and former Republican Governor of Massachusetts. Romney was CEO of Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, and co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm. Romney successfully organized and steered the 2002 Winter Olympics as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.[2] Romney served one term as Governor from 2003 to 2007,[3] and was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election. He is widely seen as a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President in the 2012 Presidential Election.[4]

      Great he’s another ankle biting politican who cant pay his taxes or is screwing someone else. He has no business.. being involved in GM!

      Listen to Peter Delorenzo!

      Manufacturing experience needed only!!!
      A big stupid mouth.. with a exprience as a figure head / CEO of some mgt company..with a MBA.. NEED NOT APPLY.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    It doesn’t make any difference if Henderson quit or was fired nor does it make any difference what anyone’s opinion of Whitacre is. What makes a difference is that Henderson is history and no doubt someone from outside GM with manufacturing experience will replace him. As much as we would all like to see an immediately profitable GM given the current market conditions and GM’s own massive internal difficulties it’s going to take time. Henderson’s demise is without question another step in the right direction. Personally I want GM and Chrysler to succeed for purely selfish reasons, I live in SE Michigan and the failure of either or both would change devastation into decimation.

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      That’s the problem with Lutz or any other GM lifer, that they have only made it worse so far, so why should they make it any better now? Lutz was hired in 2002 as the “Car Czar” to turn GM around, why should he succeed now what he hasn’t done in the past eight years? There just isn’t any credibility left in recruiting from within, especially not the peole that made GM end up where it actually is today. On the contrary, Rick Wagoner and all of his still reigning cohorts should be indicted for criminal negligence.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I don’t get it.  For months people on TTAC were saying how Fritz needed to go.  Now, he is gone.  Of course, it is now the wrong decision to let Fritz go.  I don’t get it.  Fritz was part of the old GM, CFO who apparently didn’t keep an eye on the books very well.  Having Fritz be CEO was more of we need someone to do this now and we don’t have much time to look on behalf of the gov’t auto task force.   Also, recall that the exec pay was recently amended so GM could hire better talent.
    I don’t understand how people can say things weren’t planned.  Do you know they weren’t?  Do you know what goes on at GM every day?  Do you know what the board does every day?  GM needs to hire someone like an Mullally to turn it around.

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      It’s all in the way it is done. Doing it this way is counter productive, thus, they wouldn’t be doing it if they weren’t forced. Despite what you think of the commentators at this site, I don’t think anyone wouldn’t be please with GM doing something right and making sound business decisions. Nobody here criticizes GM out of sheer spite or maliciousness.

    • 0 avatar
      bill h.

      Well I’m relieved Ingvar! :-/

  • avatar
    Adub

    The abrupt decision reveals GM incompetence yet again. The company is doomed, doomed I say.

    And yes, the federales should appoint Buickman to run the company. He at least is passionate about the company and knows what’s wrong. He can hardly do worse!

  • avatar
    Mark out West

    Two words: Roger Penske.

  • avatar
    boosterseat

    I am sure they’ve been quietly talking with Bernhard for months.
    He has to be in the top 3, if he wants to even touch this gig.
     
    They would also do well to bring in someone with a winning history from a major tech company, like an Intel or Cisco, but the killer is why in the world would any of those rich buggers take this relatively dreadful job?? It took Ford paying Mullaly $26 million in year one to bring him in – in this sense, GM is handcuffed.
    $5 on Bernhard. I think he’d have a good chance of fixing this ship, too.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Penske would be a good choice.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    I nominate H. ROSS PEROT!

  • avatar
    Mike_H

    You are missing the obvious.  This is all part of the master plan to quietly elevate Howie Long from advertising spokesman to corporate CEO.
    Mark my words, it will happen.
     

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Kwame Killpatrick

  • avatar
    rnc

    Fritz was always an “interim” CEO (remember they just didn’t call him that).  It will be someone from outside the company (under pay rules they can pay someone what thier most current compensation was at thier previous position). 

    Lewis Booth, President Ford EU – He’s considered to be the most capable of AM underlings, but is probably too old to have the reins handed to him when AM retires.  He would also make Opel stakeholders very happy.   

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Mark Reuss. Smart guy. He did a good job with GM Holden, fought the good fight with Lutz over the Commodore/G8 direction (correctly), and was called back to Detroit just recently.
     
    He’s a “lifer” however, so that probably rules him out.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Isn’t Malcolm Bricklin available ? He’s a car guy: Subaru, Yugo, Bricklin. No it’s GM: he’s over qualified. j’king

  • avatar
    dougfixit

    Penske would be an excellent choice, but I think there would be a clash of titans between him and Whitacre.

  • avatar
    GoHuskers

    I saw Fritz interviewed on “Meet the Press” last summer. He was as impressive as a Yugo in a BMW showroom.

    A man clearly over his head…and likely has been for many years.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • SCE to AUX: @spookiness: 100% correct. A well-tuned 60s car emitted 100x the pollution of a modern car, and lead was...
  • Tim Healey: @FreedMike — Please be careful with spamming the comments with links to other outlets, especially...
  • bullnuke: Jeff S – I also have reservations about the waiver system. California has a rather unique...
  • SCE to AUX: @Oberkanonone: I get your point and generally agree, but 1 in 8 Americans lives in California. It’s...
  • SCE to AUX: “his policies meant great stock market, lowest ever unemployment, low inflation, secure borders,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber