Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fritz Henderson Feedback

Readers respond to the news that Fritz Henderson is no longer running G.M.

JWilly writes:

It's hard to tell how much significance should be given to the "car guys vs. money managers" and "knows the culture and can get stuff done vs. can see the flaws in the culture and force changes" arguments. When the bankers took over from Billy Durant the second time, the money guy they put in charge turned out to be a quick study as a car guy, and became a visionary leader. GM's worst decades were helmed by internally developed money guys who were blind to their strategic death spiral. Ford's Alan Mullally, totally from the outside and knowing nothing about cars, has been brilliant at recognizing the fine distinctions between what works and what doesn't, and turning around their equally broken culture.

On the other hand, it's pretty scary that Ed Whittaker seems to be proud of not knowing anything about cars, or why people buy them, and is backed by a Board that is equally know-nothing except about finance.

From news reports, the specific fault leading to Fritz's firing was the failure to make
lots of money selling Opel, Saturn and SAAB. There doesn't seem to be a second half to the story, in which it's explained why it's Fritz's fault that Renault came to its senses regarding Saturn's prospects, no one wants the SAAB carcass, and Opel obviously has been GM's engineering center for mid-sized sedans for the past decade.

Whittaker seems to have been just waiting for an excuse to take over himself. He's a super-sized-ego kind of guy, with a track record heavily influenced by luck in my opinion. Well, now we get to roll the dice with our whole stake bet on him.

Rich Frost writes:

I hate to bring up money, but since American taxpayers pretty much own the company -- how much is Fritz going to be collecting now that he has left this flaming turd known as GM? I only ask this because it seems like the CEOs from all of these bailout companies profit handsomely from all of these failures and the people paying the bills (i.e., the American taxpayer) usually ends up getting screwed.

4 comments:

  1. From the mid fifties, when GM controlled 50% of the auto market to 2009, that percentage had wasted away to less that 20%. According to Bloomberg the stock value slid to losses to the tune of 88 billion dollars between 2004 and 2008 under Wagoner's tenure. The First Hundred Days theme for Fritz, who knows the auto industry, (he grew up there)was like putting a blindfold on a good batter and expecting a homerun..Result- a foul and two clean misses at the plate. Lets see what the bean counter,Whitaker can do up there.

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  2. From the mid fifties, when GM controlled 50% of the auto market to 2009, that percentage had wasted away to less that 20%. According to Bloomberg the stock value slid to losses to the tune of 88 billion dollars between 2004 and 2008 under Wagoner's tenure. The First Hundred Days theme for Fritz, who knows the auto industry, (he grew up there)was like putting a blindfold on a good batter and expecting a homerun..Result- a foul and two clean misses at the plate. Lets see what the bean counter,Whitaker can do up there. Unclebuck

    ReplyDelete
  3. That new thing on here that makes you type funny looking letters to get on, kind of confuses my step procedure. I'm not deliberately trying to double up my comments, it's just a little confounding for my three quarter century mind, plus I'm still learning about this fancy way to communicate. Sorry.

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  4. Uncle Buck, it is a pain. I resisted using it but lately I've been getting tons of spam comments — some of which are kind of funny, but still really annoying — so I had to implement it. Sorry for the hassle.

    ReplyDelete

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