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.