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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.

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I wonder
By Griswold on 12/2/2009 2:05:52 AM , Rating: -1

I wonder what exactly did this profane little brat buy from GM in the past - at age 15!

Maybe it was daddy using her facebook account. :P

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.

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