Print 41 comment(s) - last by EasyC.. on Dec 3 at 12:39 PM

GM's new CEO Fritz Henderson has called it quits after only 8 months after the job, after deals to sell Saab and Saturn collapsed.  (Source: AP)

GM will now be headed temporarily by board chairman Ed Whitacre, a former AT&T executive who famously remarked, "I don't know anything about cars."  (Source: GM)

Fritz Henderson's daughter Sarah reportedly let loose a rant on Facebook after the announcement.  (Source: Jalopnik)

Some believe that Bob Lutz, a current GM vice chairman who has served with all three Detroit automakers will be picked as CEO. Mr. Lutz, a former jet fighter pilot, will take over for Mr. Henderson at tomorrow's LA Auto Show keynote address.  (Source: Detroit News)
GM's recovery hits a roadbump with an executive shakeup, but Whitacre, Lutz seize reins

Late Tuesday news broke that the new CEO of General Motors, Fritz Henderson, was stepping down after only eight months on the job, reportedly by mutual consent.  The move took the automotive industry somewhat by surprise as Mr. Henderson had been personally endorsed by President Obama and had helped see the automaker out of bankruptcy and onto an aggressive path of improved sales and ahead-of-schedule loan repayments.

So what went wrong?  Industry insiders in Detroit say that while the previous GM CEO, Rick Wagoner, was given nearly unlimited freedom before the bankruptcy, the government and board essentially strangled Mr. Henderson with too tight a leash. 

The board (and U.S. government) became disenchanted with Mr. Henderson as he appointed GM insiders to pivotal executive positions, declining to bring in fresh blood.  Mr. Henderson blamed pending government curbs on executive pay.  He received more flak over a poorly received ad campaign featuring GM board chairman Ed Whitacre and an abruptly canceled eBay sales experiment.

Most recently the ceiling really caved in when GM's deals to sell Saturn and Swedish-based Saab collapsed.  While both GM and the buyer share the blame in both of these failures, GM's inability to provide the buyer with enough resources was reportedly a common complaint between both ex-buyers.

Ed Whitacre, a former AT&T Inc CEO and current GM board chairman, announced Mr. Henderson's departure at a hasty press conference in Detroit.  Describes Mr. Whitacre, "Fritz has done a remarkable job leading the company through an unprecedented period of challenge and change.  While momentum has been building over the past several months, all involved agree that changes need to be made."

Mr. Whitacre, 68 years old, says that he will serve as GM's interim CEO until a more permanent replacement is found.  He refused to answer questions from journalists at his press event, but said that business would continue "as normal" at the automaker.  Mr. Whitacre is infamous for his quote, "I don't know anything about cars."

Mr. Henderson's daughter, Sarah Henderson, reportedly released a Facebook rant after the announcement according to the auto blog site Jalopnik. The authenticity of Ms. Henderson's comments has not been confirmed.

The job search will likely be complicated by the fact that pay for the position has been restricted by the Obama administration's so-called "compensation czar", Kenneth Feinberg.  According to Mr. Whitacre, the government played no direct role in Mr. Henderson's decision to step down.

One possible executive candidate is current Vice Chairman Bob Lutz.  While certainly an industry insider, Mr. Lutz has spent time at all three Detroit automakers and thus isn't considered old blood.  He's known for his vocal and blunt style that has at times run him into trouble, but has also earned him many fans.  Mr. Lutz will step in for Mr. Henderson tomorrow at GM's LA Auto Show keynote address.  Richard Change, an automotive journalist with The New York Times suggests that the signs may point to the selection of "Maximum Bob" as the new GM CEO.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Fritz's daughter
By Runiteshark on 12/2/2009 12:09:41 AM , Rating: 2
Mick, I think you forgot about Fritz's daughter.


RE: Fritz's daughter
By OAKside24 on 12/2/2009 3:37:10 AM , Rating: 3
Quote of the Week. And the best part, courtesy of Mick:
Ms. Henderson's comments have not been confirmed.

RE: Fritz's daughter
By bissimo on 12/2/2009 10:13:28 AM , Rating: 2
He's now changed it to be more factually accurate, but missed out on the whole grammar thing:

The authenticity of Ms. Henderson's comments have not been confirmed.

is the subject of your sentence and singular, thus necessitating the third-person singular form: has.

Example: The authenticity... has not been confirmed.

RE: Fritz's daughter
By weskurtz0081 on 12/2/2009 10:23:15 AM , Rating: 5
I feel feel sorry for anyone that marries you.

RE: Fritz's daughter
By mindless1 on 12/2/2009 8:12:25 PM , Rating: 2

ed whitachre
By wetwareinterface on 12/2/2009 6:37:59 AM , Rating: 5
wow GM is in serious trouble now...
good old ed, he took a rapidly expanding and very successful company (SBC) to the brink of extinction. now GM can look forward to his excellent leadership skills like laying off the workforce that actually does the work and putting in place a system of "if it works, we keep the customer if it doesn't we just drop them. after of course we bill them for 6 months after they cancel."

he took 50,000 jobs away with his first layoffs from a company his bought out (ameritech). then 98,000 jobs from 2 state areas nevada bell and former pacific bell (california). leaving a workforce unable to handle any customer complaints, provision any new dsl customers unless everything related to the dsl order and actual equipment and internet connection was going to work without any assistance whatsoever, and left in place a system that instead continued to bill customers typically for 6 months after their failed orders were cancelled by said customers.

the joke is he got a 12 million dollar bonus that year for saving the company a lot of money. the following year was even more layoffs in tech and customer service positions for which he earned an additional 12 million bonus. following year he broke every promise he made to roll out fiber to the government that gave him the infastructure money to do so and basically to this day still has not rolled out yet except in the limited areas they had planned on doing 6 years ago.

ed will be the perfect fail ceo for GM to cap off a long line of fails for the company... er government subsidy.

RE: ed whitachre
By elgueroloco on 12/2/2009 2:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
Is that what I just spent 2 weeks dealing with? AT&T is a horrible nightmare of incompetence and was unable to get my DSL working after 2 weeks.

I had to hold 10 minutes to talk to a new person every time I wanted to do anything even slightly different. I had to hold for a little over an hour to reach their disconnection department. I went way over my cell phone minutes from all the times I had to call them and hold. Most of the people there didn't even seem to know how to do their jobs.

I will never even consider doing business with AT&T again unless something changes drastically. What a pathetic joke of a company. I finally ended up going with Comcast and got my internet and digital cable going the same day I called.

Now that I know who caused all that, if I ever meet Ed Whitachre I will punch him in the face and steal $60 from his wallet as compensation for my cell phone overage this month.

RE: ed whitachre
By EasyC on 12/3/2009 12:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
I had the same experience with Verizon fios. Not only was it a PITA to swap my billing info to a new CC, but they even went as far as to continue taking my money 3 months after I cancelled. Then took another 8 months and an impending lawsuit just to get the money back!

I will never support another Verizon product again. As much as Comcast is an evil giant, atleast they can service!

It's time......
By ajoyner777 on 12/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: It's time......
By SerafinaEva on 12/2/2009 2:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad the Japanese companies are growing, even the Korean companies are getting bigger every day.

Keep staying in Denial though. GM is dead, get over it.

RE: It's time......
By SerafinaEva on 12/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: It's time......
By Oregonian2 on 12/2/2009 2:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
I think you point out exactly why he was fired.

Reason given is that GM was changing too slowly (run by a GM lifer).

Didn't provide enough resources?
By Jalek on 12/2/2009 3:06:00 AM , Rating: 2
Were they not offering production capacity?
The Saturn deal was just odd, Penske wanting to use production lines without committing to any themselves, but in both cases?

The girl's statement is very likely the closest thing to the truth you'll get, and why the taxpayers will never recoup anything near what they should from this company.

Obama doesn't know cars either.

By Oregonian2 on 12/2/2009 2:52:42 PM , Rating: 2
Penske deal fell through because Penske couldn't get a deal for the cars that would replace the current Saturn cars a couple years from now. GM would only make the current ones for a few years, but Penske had to get something (in writing) for the period after that. He failed so the failed deal domino'ed backwards from there.

Look at those tired old ancient faces
By aguilpa1 on 12/2/2009 9:42:03 AM , Rating: 2
CEO's are worthless overpaid, narrow minded, out of touch entities and the scurge of the American corporate world. Get rid of them all. Replace them with people who are in touch with the industry and care about really making a difference on not just being a political figure head out for personal gain.

By mindless1 on 12/2/2009 8:15:35 PM , Rating: 2
... then they too will become fat and complacent because they have no motivation to rise higher in their company or increase their pay.

However, lest we forget GM wasn't entirely a failure at making cars that sold reasonably well world-wide, rather at the business of cost controlled manufacturing and support.

I wonder...
By wysingertech on 12/2/2009 12:04:50 AM , Rating: 3
What kind of compensation deal is this guy gonna walk away with?

the ceiling
By lycium on 12/2/2009 4:36:15 AM , Rating: 3
Most recently the ceiling really caved in when GM's deals to sell Saturn and Swedish-based Saab caved in.

ah, so the deal to sell saturn and saab was the ceiling?

By lagomorpha on 12/2/2009 4:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
Plenty of excellent CEOs dive into their jobs and neglect their families. You will probably not find correlation between the two.

By cfaalm on 12/2/2009 6:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
They are now talking with Spyker about selling Saab.

Abandoning Sinking Ship
By SerafinaEva on 12/2/2009 2:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like everyone is abandoning the sinking ship that is GM and the American auto industry likewise.

Smart move. Nothing can save the American auto industry not even the government. I hope this is a lesson to politicians and every able thinking person in the country.

What? Saab has buyers?
By BikeDude on 12/3/2009 3:53:04 AM , Rating: 2
But... A GM insider said there were no interested buyers?!

Did DailyTech fail to check their source? Even I knew the day before that there were at least one other interesting party that wanted to buy.

There are currently four buyers in the loop, and at least one other that GM has declined speaking to.

PS: The article mentions that it is probably both parties fault that the Koenigsegg deal broke down. I would very much like to know what such a statement is based on. Many people are very curious about why they failed!

Bob Lutz...urgh
By The0ne on 12/2/2009 12:30:51 AM , Rating: 1
I hate this guy...hope GM dies.

Its time....
By Freezebyte on 12/2/2009 1:08:38 AM , Rating: 1
to die GM.

Why not put Obama as CO-CEO?
By Lord 666 on 12/2/09, Rating: -1
RE: Why not put Obama as CO-CEO?
By cyberguyz on 12/2/2009 9:39:19 AM , Rating: 1
Why on earth would Obama want to run a loser company when he is already the most powerful man in the United States? Would kinda be like some serious slumming.

But for the topic: I wonder how big of a 'golden parachute' ol' Fritz is being given -- funded of course by American Bail-out money. I bet he's laughing all the way to the bank -- something his misguided little brat seems not to be considering with her little rant.

RE: Why not put Obama as CO-CEO?
By Chaser on 12/2/2009 11:07:18 AM , Rating: 2
His automobile industry Czar he "appointed" runs GM.

I wonder
By Griswold on 12/2/09, Rating: -1
RE: I wonder
By LumbergTech on 12/2/2009 2:42:08 AM , Rating: 3
a lot of 15 year olds would do the same thing..

defend your family and since they are young they lose it out loud instead of behind closed doors

so what...if you didn't flip out a few times when you were a kid you are probably actually a robot

RE: I wonder
By mdogs444 on 12/2/2009 8:25:53 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder what exactly did this profane little brat buy from GM in the past - at age 15!

Who cares? I wonder how many douchebags on this site complain that they'll never buy a certain type of car, or that certain cars are junk - when in fact their parents bought their cars for them, or they are under 16 and don't even drive. The hypocrisy is quite humorous - especially considering the number of people on here who defend the use of taxpayer funds for auto bailouts, when in fact they are probably in high school and don't have jobs or even pay taxes.

It's nothing more than a teenager doing what they do best, yelling and causing drama. Singling out her profanity is quite silly, as that appears to be the common language taught in today's public education system so shes no different than anyone else. Plus, I don't think you need to have a rich dad in order to be a brat.

RE: I wonder
By mindless1 on 12/2/2009 8:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
... or they don't maintain their car. What % of teenagers would we expect to check and replace brake pads, struts, air filters and whatnot? Years ago young men got into this kind of thing but today the internet and gaming seems to take up more of their free time.

However, I do support use of taxpayer funds for auto bailouts. Why? Because you aren't thinking with a global perspective. Keeping domestic product up is a return on the investment, monies paid to US employees are taxable income, also a return on investment. Products bought with that income are also often taxed.

Then there's the alternative, we pay for their welfare instead and get nothing out of it. Sorry but in the end you pick the lesser of two evils which is what the bailout was. They just didn't do it soon enough and did not put enough conditions on it.

RE: I wonder
By Hiawa23 on 12/2/2009 9:27:59 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like the govt shouldn't have given them one dime, & just let them fold back in 2008. What a mess, & here I was thinking that they were getting back on track. I hate to say it as all my cars have been from Honda or Mitsubishi or Toyota. Looks like that will probably continue in the future. I was really hoping for the sake of America that GM got themselves straightened out. Well, atleast Ford looks to be in a good position. When you take govt bailout you are going to be a puppet, just how it goes.

RE: I wonder
By cyberguyz on 12/2/2009 9:32:21 AM , Rating: 2
Funny how GM yoinked that spicy little rant off their page in less than a day ^^

I suppose daddy's little guurl is less than pleased with GM's decision to show Fritz the door.

RE: I wonder
By mindless1 on 12/2/2009 9:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
Funny how you can't see this is a normal moderated forum occurrence when someone goes on a cursing rant, has nothing to do with whether GM or some other company.

RE: I wonder
By nafhan on 12/2/2009 9:48:40 AM , Rating: 2
Breaking news: 15 year old uses strong language and all caps on FB!
Seriously... the girl is 15 and her Dad lost his job. Her response is pretty typical for someone that age who is angry or upset.

By ajoyner777 on 12/2/2009 1:29:30 AM , Rating: 1
I don't have 40k to spend on a car, but I think it's a good looking car, with some serious potential. I would say that half of the jap cars out there are as you describe "fugly", so it's a matter of opinion.

By mindless1 on 12/2/2009 8:23:38 PM , Rating: 1
Uhh, no they're not, they are still selling quite a few other car models in case you don't visit car dealers to have this clue. The volt is merely the one making news due to it's departure from past drivetrain designs.

By vailr on 12/2/09, Rating: -1
RE: Fiskar
By NukedSRT on 12/2/2009 3:41:57 AM , Rating: 3
You mean "to the AMERICAN company, Fisker." Not that it matters to this issue, but since you had to make a point of the Fisker Automotive's nationality...

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki