GM's Management Team: Can They Stay In Control?
Whether it's the Wall Street Journal speculating about Cerberus Capital pushing for "fresh air" in the management at GM, or the steady flow of e-mails I get from people saying "Wagoner must go!", there is no shortage of people suggesting GM's leadership needs to change.
What are the odds of this happening? Not real good in my opinion. Now, GM's business plan may be altered, but the folks making the calls are likely to remain relatively the same. Here's why:
• Chrysler deal with Cerberus Capital taking a stake in GM.
While Cerberus may get seats on the GM board and may want "fresh faces" in GM's management, the board majority remains squarely behind CEO Rick Wagoner and President Fritz Henderson. The general feeling is their strategy for the company is the right one. It's the economy that's the problem.
• Bankruptcy creditors committee shakes up GM's leadership.
First of all, I don't see GM filing for Chapter 11 because it would hurt the business too much. Second, having covered many bankruptcies, it rarely leads to the top brass getting thrown out.
• Government backed loans buy GM some time.
There's a quaint idea swirling around that Washington would push GM to shake-up the company. Let's think about this rationally: A group focused on the elections who fear the economy will plunge even further want to weigh in on GM's leadership? Give me a break. That ain't happening.
One final thought. I've made it clear that while I question many of the decisions that have been made by CEO Rick Wagoner and his top lieutenants, I do not think they should be thrown out on the street. Under Wagoner, GM is a far better run company than it was 10 or 20 years ago and he can lead the auto maker through this crisis.
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