GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 88 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Link: http://www.saturnfans.com/cgi-bin/links/jump.cgi?ID=1

Wagoner right for GM job, Fisher says.

BY TOM WALSH • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST • August 7, 2008

Rick Wagoner, chairman of General Motors Corp., has presided over the most tumultuous time in the history of GM and the U.S. auto industry since becoming CEO eight years ago.

So, how has he done?

George Fisher, 67, the lead independent director on GM's board, told the Free Press in an interview Tuesday that GM is "making tremendous progress" during very difficult times under the embattled Wagoner and his top executives, President Fritz Henderson and product boss Bob Lutz.

Yes, Fisher was referring to the same GM whose stock price has fallen from $70 to $10 this decade, while its share of U.S. car and truck sales dropped from 28% to 22%. During the last 3 1/2 years, GM has lost $70 billion.

When I asked Fisher how long a head coach can survive such a string of losses, he replied, "Until you're at a point when you don't think he's doing the job. And to this point, we think Rick is right-on on the restructuring; right-on on the health care issues and working in a good relationship with the UAW, which hasn't always been the case, and we think on the product side that he and Bob Lutz have really gotten us into a good competitive position on quality, cost and features with our new products."

He stressed, however, that GM's board is acutely aware of the staggering problems Detroit's automakers face during the next two years -- a cash crunch, tight credit, a collapse in real estate values and volatile gasoline prices that have radically changed the behavior of car buyers.

The GM directors have recently begun meeting weekly by telephone with top management, in addition to their 10 regular in-person meetings per year, because of the volatile conditions. Participation in the weekly calls is voluntary for the directors, but a majority take part, Fisher said.

"The point about all that," he said, "is we're discussing all the issues well in advance.

"Do we have lots of questions asked about these issues? Absolutely. That's the job of a good board.

"Do we all see the facts the same way? Probably not.

"But do we all support Rick and his team and what they're trying to do? Absolutely, yes."

Full article at link.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,838 Posts
I really think its time to get some new blood at the helm of GM. GM needs some direction and they always seem to behind the trends. Thats not very good in this business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Buickman? I am sure you completely agree with Fisher;)

This is a complete joke...any other business, this guy wouldn't have time to pack his personal belongings as his backside was show the door! When are they going to wake up?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
899 Posts
This ofcourse begs the question - what would GM look like if The Rick were doing a bad job ?
- mounting losses
- diminishing market share
- falling stock price

I believe that someday in Business classes around the world the collapse of GM will be taught as a Case History in mismanagment.

In the meantime, Bizarro World continues...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,424 Posts
Wagoner has to know he's got a target painted on his back............I bet it's only a matter of time before he becomes an endangered species in Detroit....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,822 Posts
I really think its time to get some new blood at the helm of GM. GM needs some direction and they always seem to behind the trends. Thats not very good in this business.

Totally agree.

Rick seems very good at some parts of running the business (i.e. negotiations with the union and solving the health care & pension issues, budget cuts etc.) but GM has not shown any real vision.

Chrysler thinks they have to many brands and want to consolidate sales channels. Ford considered killing Mercury. But GM is still saddled with 8 divisions. Worse, GM has remained inconsistant on the product mix for Buick, Pontiac, Saturn and Cadillac. They seem completely unable to focus attention and resources on more then a few divisions at a time, but are paralized to make any changes.

People pretend that putting down Buick or Pontiac would be criminal. LaSalle was put down when it lost relevance. Oldsmobile was put down because it lost relevance. Vicking and Oakland were also killed by GM. I'm sure there are more. Markets change... adapt!

I'm not saying killing a brand would prove Wagoner has more vision but its an example that GM leadership does not think outside the box of what GM should be. It is still run very much like it was decades ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,341 Posts
Totally agree.

Rick seems very good at some parts of running the business (i.e. negotiations with the union and solving the health care & pension issues, budget cuts etc.) but GM has not shown any real vision.

Chrysler thinks they have to many brands and want to consolidate sales channels. Ford considered killing Mercury. But GM is still saddled with 8 divisions. Worse, GM has remained inconsistant on the product mix for Buick, Pontiac, Saturn and Cadillac. They seem completely unable to focus attention and resources on more then a few divisions at a time, but are paralized to make any changes.

People pretend that putting down Buick or Pontiac would be criminal. LaSalle was put down when it lost relevance. Oldsmobile was put down because it lost relevance. Vicking and Oakland were also killed by GM. I'm sure there are more. Markets change... adapt!

I'm not saying killing a brand would prove Wagoner has more vision but its an example that what he does not think outside the box of what GM should be.
Killing Oldsmobile provided to be VERY costly in the end with all legal fees and other related costs. In this current state GM does not have billions of dollars to waste on killing a brand to eventually make up a short term profit after the several billions have paid for themselves. I am not saying GM doesn't have a lot of brands that makes marketing difficult, I am simply saying that cutting brands would be very inefficient and would be easier to attempt to fix them up with better marketing and a better product mix.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
991 Posts
Considering the resistence to change in GM's board, and the market conditions of the last couple years, I'm not sure anyone could do a significantly better job. GM is a very slow moving ship, and turning it around would take a lot of time. That being said, Rick has been around for quite a while now, and while some things have gotten better, other things have gotten worse. every change in the market seems catch GM off guard, and despite their vast resources, they're only average in innovation and globalization. I think new blood couldn't hurt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
899 Posts
Killing Oldsmobile provided to be VERY costly in the end with all legal fees and other related costs. In this current state GM does not have billions of dollars to waste on killing a brand to eventually make up a short term profit after the several billions have paid for themselves. I am not saying GM doesn't have a lot of brands that makes marketing difficult, I am simply saying that cutting brands would be very inefficient and would be easier to attempt to fix them up with better marketing and a better product mix.
Agree with most of what you're saying here.

Just my opinion, needless to say...but in this life there's usually two ways to do things: 1) directly, 2) indirectly. I'm thinking GM should give 1 product to Pontiac (the G8 say), one product to Buick, one to GMC. That way GM meets the terms of their Franchise agreements with the dealers. If those Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealers can stay in business - fine, if not, oh well...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,904 Posts
Killing Oldsmobile provided to be VERY costly in the end with all legal fees and other related costs. In this current state GM does not have billions of dollars to waste on killing a brand to eventually make up a short term profit after the several billions have paid for themselves. I am not saying GM doesn't have a lot of brands that makes marketing difficult, I am simply saying that cutting brands would be very inefficient and would be easier to attempt to fix them up with better marketing and a better product mix.
To all of the "lets cuts some brands" guys... FP's post is 100% accurate.
The ONLY way GM can cut ANY of the core brands (Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Cadillac) now is to delcare Chapter 11. Even selling off the non-core brands like SAAB, Hummer, Saturn will prove problematic. And will generate as much in the way of cost as it does in the way of cash.

The time to cut divisions has past...
There still is time to cut the CEO though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
I really think its time to get some new blood at the helm of GM. GM needs some direction and they always seem to behind the trends. Thats not very good in this business.
In a few Years, I can see Wagoner being a hero. We just need patience. There will be good product and it will be ahead of the curve, is my feeling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
804 Posts
This ofcourse begs the question - what would GM look like if The Rick were doing a bad job ?
- mounting losses
- diminishing market share
- falling stock price

I believe that someday in Business classes around the world the collapse of GM will be taught as a Case History in mismanagment.

In the meantime, Bizarro World continues...
That's interesting, because "Bizarro World" is what I see almost everyday on GMI - in addition to the normal crowd of people offering helpful advice or insights, there is a growing group who have somehow managed to convince themselves that a group of journalists and web-blogers would actually do a better job of running GM than an army of Ivy-League MBAs, with an army of "outside the industry" consultants.

When people with no training, no experience, no history of leadership, no MBA, no hard-fought fellowship, no scholarship to a top school, no idea who might be able to do a better job and why - when people like this start to spout off about what morons GM execs are, and CEOs from other auto companies or CEO's of other well known companies stay silent, you've got to wonder if there's a message there :
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.
- Benjamin Franklin

BTW - now you guys happen to agree with the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/henry-blodget/gms-ceo-has-done-a-horren_b_117505.html

To answer your question - if Rick were doing a bad job - he'd be out running a sporting goods store somewhere. Do you remember how long it took the board to realize the Stemple was the wrong man for the job, how long it took them to realize that Zarella was just a toothpaste salesman? There was a good story on CNN about GM's downward spiral, and I think the first slide was Roger Smith...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,569 Posts
the real question is who would be doing a better job and what would that person be doing differently? People dont put much time into answering those questions, they just repeatedly ask for Rick to be fired. There are no miracle workers out there. Ford brought in a miracle worker from the "outside" and they are currently losing billions just like GM. Ford seems to have a solid plan but in the interim they are slashing jobs, losing market share and losing money.............just like GM which is run by supposedly incompetent management. We will see where Ford stands in two years but at this juncture GM's products and reputation are superior to Ford's.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
and now $300 Million to settle lawsuit for cooking the books. time to clean house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,447 Posts
Just my opinion, needless to say...but in this life there's usually two ways to do things: 1) directly, 2) indirectly. I'm thinking GM should give 1 product to Pontiac (the G8 say), one product to Buick, one to GMC. That way GM meets the terms of their Franchise agreements with the dealers. If those Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealers can stay in business - fine, if not, oh well...
I believe that the lumping together of Buick, Pontiac and GMC is GM's indirect way of cutting brands. I could see them becoming a defacto 1 brand in the near future. They just need to work on the execution a bit more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,043 Posts
That's interesting, because "Bizarro World" is what I see almost everyday on GMI - in addition to the normal crowd of people offering helpful advice or insights, there is a growing group who have somehow managed to convince themselves that a group of journalists and web-blogers would actually do a better job of running GM than an army of Ivy-League MBAs, with an army of "outside the industry" consultants.

When people with no training, no experience, no history of leadership, no MBA, no hard-fought fellowship, no scholarship to a top school, no idea who might be able to do a better job and why - when people like this start to spout off about what morons GM execs are, and CEOs from other auto companies or CEO's of other well known companies stay silent, you've got to wonder if there's a message there :
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.
- Benjamin Franklin

BTW - now you guys happen to agree with the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/henry-blodget/gms-ceo-has-done-a-horren_b_117505.html

To answer your question - if Rick were doing a bad job - he'd be out running a sporting goods store somewhere. Do you remember how long it took the board to realize the Stemple was the wrong man for the job, how long it took them to realize that Zarella was just a toothpaste salesman? There was a good story on CNN about GM's downward spiral, and I think the first slide was Roger Smith...
What about those of us with training, experience, leadership under our belts, an MBA, AND scholarships from top schools? There are at least a few of us on this board.
 
1 - 20 of 88 Posts
Top