This is not a surprise.
General Motors Co. CEO Frederick “Fritz” Henderson stepped down Tuesday after the board determined that the company wasn’t changing quickly enough.
Chairman Ed Whitacre Jr. said at a hastily called news conference that he will serve as interim CEO, and an international search for a new CEO and president is planned.
Whitacre thanked Henderson for his work during a period of challenge and change, but said it is time to accelerate the pace of rebuilding the largest U.S. automaker.
The resignation comes just eight months after Henderson, 51, replaced former chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, who was ousted March 29 by the Obama administration’s government’s auto task force.
Henderson has been with GM his entire career and was the government’s choice to run the beleaguered company after Wagoner left. Whitacre, picked by the government in June to be chairman of the new GM, is considered an industry outsider, having run AT&T Inc. for 17 years.
Whitacre and the board have become increasingly active in the company’s decisions, at times challenging some of Henderson’s decisions. In November, the board voted to abandon plans to sell GM’s European Opel unit. That reversed an earlier option favored by Henderson to sell it to a consortium led by Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International Inc.
“Based on the determination of the board and the pace of the change in the company, it was determined that it was best to initiate a change in direction,” spokesman Chris Preuss said.
An Obama administration official said in a statement that “this decision was made by the Board of Directors alone. The Administration was not involved in the decision.”
I happen to have a bridge for sale, and you can put tolls on it, too, for any of you who believe that the Obama Administration “was not involved.”
Government General Motors’ biggest problems are that:
- There are people like me who will not ever buy another GM vehicle, now that the government owns it; and
- GM builds crap.
I’m thinking that the second problem might be a bigger one, but, it’s also important that someone like me, someone who actually has a job and will eventually have to buy another truck, is simply not available to GM as a potential customer, even if they do improve the quality of their junk.