GM Names UAW VEBA Director Girsky Vice Chairman
Ask The Best And Brightest: Will Ed Whitacre Hire Himself?

If there’s a word to describe the feeling inside GM right now, it would be “nervous.” Though nobody was surprised that Fritz Henderson would leave at some point, it’s clear that his ouster was strangely timed and indicative of Ed Whitacre’s desire for rapid results. In an instant, Whitacre public image went from Iacocca-wannabe-pitchman to hard-charging Texas executive, seemingly defined by (get this) his penchant for killing rattlesnakes by pinning them with a stick and crushing their heads with a rock. So vivid is this metaphor, that according to Businesweek‘s David Welch, a number of GM executives actually offered their resignations to Whitacre immediately following the Henderson’s canning. Though Whitacre declined to let the bloodletting continue, a number of commentators now appear to believe that Whitacre wants to run GM himself. Though pay caps will be the easy excuse for not finding a new CEO, the board of director’s activism in clashing with Henderson over the Opel sale could discourage other executives from even considering the job. Moreover, Whitacre’s history of taking over companies and molding them in his image is well-established from his time at SBC/AT&T. So, will Ed Whitacre drop the pretense and the word “interim” from his title, or is he really just clearing the way for someone else?

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Wild Ass Rumor of the Day: GM About to Shutter Saab

Well, not so wild ass, obviously. Other than getting sued by disenfranchised Saab
dealers—which isn’t so much of an issue now that Uncle Sam is paying for everything—why wouldn’t GM shutter Saab? When it comes to buying car brands, no one is. Or will be. For a very, very long time. If ever. And GM needs to show its Congressional overlords that it’s doing something about something™. So we’re passing along a tipster’s assertion that yesterday’s resignation of Percy Barnevik from GM’s Board of Directors signals that the axe is about to fall on the Born From Jets brand. The divine Mr. B. was born just (pronounced youst) outside Trollhättan. If he ever wants to show his face in Sweden again, he has to distance himself from the author of Saab’s neglect, abuse and final destruction. You know, GM and its Board of Directors . . . which he joined six years after GM scarfed the Swedish brand, during which time it produced the America-only 9-7x (a TTAC Ten Worst winner). For that alone, I’d be worried.

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