THOUGHTS ON THE GM FIASCO AND THE AE BRAND IMAGE METER III.
DateMonday, June 9, 2014 at 08:24AM
By Peter M. De Lorenzo
Detroit. Watching the events surrounding the GM ignition switch fiasco unfold last week was interesting, but not as interesting as you might imagine. First of all, none of it was revelatory or even shocking to me in the least. That the Anton Valukas investigative report was an indictment of GM’s so-called corporate “culture” and that the built-in silos existing throughout the corporation were ultimately to blame for the lack of accountability in this odorous recall situation was as predictable as saying GM had lost its way back in 1979.
The rationale by Valukas that GM’s hidebound, insular culture prevented the severity of this situation from ever getting to the upper echelons of the corporation was barely believable and had all the calculated indications of a soft landing for everyone who was allegedly in the dark or not involved. Needless to say I wasn’t impressed with it and I’m not buying it.
Most glaring of the dubious findings in the report was that GM’s General Counsel, Michael Millikin, was completely unaware of what was going on until this past February, but that two of his deputies were knee-deep in it and lost their jobs because of it.
Really? Millikin is the architect of GM’s feared legal department, an “Adjustment Bureau” of sorts that runs roughshod over anything and everything inside that corporation, whether it comes under the purview of the legal department or not.
“Not knowing” is as far away from Millikin’s modus operandi as you can possibly get. This guy takes great pride in knowing everything there is to know about the company, often putting his nose – and the boots of his legal stormtroopers – in places that they don’t belong, to the detriment of many. It should be no surprise that Millikin was one of Dan Akerson’s closest - if not the closest – allies, and the two were joined at the hip while plotting, ruminating and generally concocting mayhem within the company according to Captain Queeg’s mood on any given day.