2009 LA Show: GM’s rotating CEO chair keeps on spinning
After arriving here in La-La Land for Wednesday’s first press day for the auto show, I find out GM interim CEO Fritz Henderson resigned. GM says, until its brain trust can find a permanent executive to take the job, the automaker’s chairman of the board, Ed Whitacre will play the role of CEO until an “international” search for a new leader is completed.
Okay. Couple of things right off the bat.
• One: No one really thought Henderson was a long-term proposition. He was always seen as a comfortable insider to get GM though last spring’s bankruptcy, and that was about it. However, as events unfolded, he had his chance for a permanent parking spot at GM’s downtown Detroit offices, and simply struck out.
Strike One was the Opel debacle. Henderson wanted the Russian-backed Magna deal to go through, but GM’s board wanted to keep its crown jewels.
Strike Two was the last minute failure of selling Saturn to Roger Penske.
Strike Three was the botched sale of Saab to the Chinese-backed Koenigsegg group.
Sorry Fritz, you’re ouutta there.
• Two: What a way for GM to kick off this year’s LA auto show. Couldn’t it have held off on announcing this decision for 48 hours?
Henderson was scheduled as the keynote speaker for tomorrow morning's media keynote kickoff (never meeting a microphone he didn’t like, Bob Lutz is stepping in.)
So now, instead of us media types talking about the new Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS Coupe, or Chevrolet Cruze, Henderson’s resignation and GM’s rotating CEO chair has become front and centre.
Do you care who’s running GM?
Or does it really matter these days?