More on Fritz’s Departure

Fritz Henderson and Camaro

It looks like another one of those corporate “resignations,” i.e., firings. Fritz Henderson got the boot for not kowtowing to the GM board—at least according to one source. And he kept on picking “GM lifers” for his managers, when the board wanted new blood. Another problem was the misadventure with Opel—the board wanting to keep it, Fritz moving to sell it. Then there was the Saturn deal collapsing and, finally, the protracted negotiations over Saab that caused Koenigsegg to withdraw.

It’s also been reported that Fritz flunked his 100-day performance review for reasons that are still private. The guy spent 25 years at GM and was CEO for only 8 months. He helped bring the company through bankruptcy (Fritz is a finance guy) and did a great job with that. But now he becomes another victim of the GM culture wars. Ed Whitacre, chairman and now interim CEO, is calling the shots and stressing rapid decision-making. But, as one commentator noted, “more important is to decide right and execute.”

Whitacre is still an unknown quantity for GM. Many people think he did a lousy job running AT&T and made a big deal out of attacking public wireless initiatives like net neutrality. He likes leveraged buyouts and lining his pockets. Said one media journalist,

As an example of an egregious lack of corporate fiscal discipline, his $158 million retirement package from AT&T, which included country club memberships, makes plain that Whitacre is the wrong leader for GM’s business today.

But the Obama team gave him the reins, and now the fate of GM is in his hands. Let’s hope he knows what he’s doing.

What are the prospects for GM now that Fritz Henderson is gone? Let us have your thoughts.

—jgoods

2 Comments

  1. GM is the automotive equivalent of stereotype inbred hillbillies. The major “reorg” that Fritz announced as part of the bankruptcy was nothing more than the usual game of musical chairs where a few managers retire and other GM managers switch jobs. This is the same game they’ve been playing for many decades now. Ed Whitacre doesn’t have a clue as to how to resurrect GM, and he’s hard up against an entrenched management. To show how clueless Ed really is, read his recent comments about risk taking made to employees today. GM’s management culture is utterly averse to risk taking. What new management needs to do is set very clear goals for managers with the promise that they will be fired if they do not meet those goals and rewarded if they do meet them. Then they need to follow through with firings if needed. In the past, GM’s managers have been rewarded whether they succeed or fail, with failure blamed on their employees. I’ll continue to be a broken record and predict that with people like Bob Lutz and GM’s inbred management culture making the decisions, GM will not survive the new year.

  2. Without an idiot like Fritz at the helm trying to sell off the good assets GM probably will survive. Ford is US speccing its European range GM has a similar range of cars in Europe petrol and Diesel powered both Ford and GM have a range of 6 and 8 cyl 4 door sedans in Australia vastly better than anything the US has that could be imported to complete their model lineups although the high performance models might not suit US tastes too fast and they stop and steer properly and would put shit like Caddy cts in the shade.

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