The UAW VEBA fund has named auto consultant and former auto analyst Steve Girsky to the board of General Motors. It's an appointment that should be applauded at GM, in Detroit, and on Wall Street.
Girsky brings a unique perspective, and a willingness to get engaged, that will liven up the discussions among GM Directors.
For those who have worried about GM having a new board being stocked with business executives who don't understand the auto business, the appointment of Girsky is a welcome sign.
Yes, since he is being appointed by the UAW VEBA fund, he will be looking out for the interests of thousands of UAW retirees. But Don't be fooled into thinking Girsky will only push for UAW-related interests. Girsky knows that what GM (and the VEBA fund which is depending on GM shares appreciating in value) needs is an aggressive and fresh approach to its business.
This means he'll push CEO Fritz Henderson and GM leaders to move quicker. Somehow, I sense Henderson will enjoy having spirited discussions about GM's future when the full board meets.
In all the years of covering the auto industry, I've found Girsky to be a straight shooter. Have I always agreed with him? No. But I have always respected the fact that the man does his homework. That's one reason he was among the most respected auto analysts when he covered the industry at Morgan Stanley.
Now he's truly in the belly of the beast.
Will his one appointment turn around GM? No. But this is the type of person GM needs on its re-constituted board if it's going have the leadership needed to change and grow in the future.