Admitting all along that he is not a car guy, GM Chairman and new CEO Ed Whitacre is quickly turning to two people who know GM and auto industry to be his top advisors in restructuring the troubled automaker.
Whitacre will be leaning on GM Vice Chair Bob Lutz as a senior advisor (Lutz also goes back to overseeing GM products) and GM board member Steve Girsky as another sr. advisor to the chairman.
Two very smart moves by Whitacre.
Lutz not only knows GM but also has been a key driver in revitalizing the company's product portfolio. He gets it. He has a great sense for what the public wants and is the reason Chevy and Cadillac are better positioned now than four or five years ago.
In turning to Girsky, Whitacre not only is picking one of the sharpest minds in the auto industry, he's also sending a clear signal GM will push quickly to make even more changes. I've known Steve Girsky for years, first as a highly respected analyst on Wall Street, then as an industry consultant, and most recently as a GM board member. The UAW picked him to go on the GM board because of his knowledge of what works, but more importantly, what doesn't work at GM.
It's the knowledge of what's messed up at GM that Girsky will share with Whitacre every day. And make no mistake, Whitacre is hell bent on fixing old habits and poor practices at the country's largest automaker. Girsky was pushing former CEO Fritz Henderson. Now he'll have Whitacre's ear and a man intent on changing GM.
Whitacre told employees today, "Nobody is going to get fired for trying something new." A clear sign Whitacre is going with those ready to move quickly. Including Bob Lutz and Steve Girsky.
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