Wednesday, October 17, 2012


32 long years did this Harvard MBA take to understand GM; one fine day it took the US Senate to fire him! No more gambles, Rick...

Oh yes, read your bio too – was interesting! Born: February 9, 1953, in Delaware, to George Sr. & Martha. Post-MBA, you chose GM over other lucrative jobs. Commendable! Your big break came in 1992, when the-then CEO Smith appointed you as the CFO. Your low-key lifestyle and the fact that you command a high popularity quotient amongst your employees, makes you most respected as a friend; but as a leader, there are complaints that you lacked that “ruthless streak needed to make the tough decisions required to bring GM back from the brink of bankruptcy.”

But Rick, we still stand by your ox-like faith in hybrids; an engine type which despite having existed commercially for 15 long years, accounts for a pathetic 2.15% of world automotive sales! Now 2.15% does not define majority, does it? But it’s ok Rick; poor mathematics is not a turn-off for us. But it sure did get your pants on fire, and we couldn''t do anything about it. [Sorry about that; for oil supply may be increasing, but water is really scarce in our parts of the world.]

Next, come to geography. Rick seriously, what were your grades in school? CEOs of manufacturing entities realised years back that shifting operations to emerging economies can help cut costs tremendously. You did too, but like the kid who skips homework, you jumped out of the window of sanity, and trashed your vision into the nearest garbage tank… and enjoyed playing football on American grounds. Oh yes, GM is an American legacy brand; how can GM cars be produced in emerging third-world, Hydrogen sulphide emitting lands? Well, thanks to your ‘Be American, buy American’ ideology, every GM vehicle produced in the past two years has cost GM $4,500 in just welfare cost. Rick, you rock! Your drained out industrial relation skills & super-confused branding philosophy have also put GM in a fix. Today, the cost of pension & healthcare per GM man-hour is a high $24 – a blood-freezing 100% more than at Toyota, Honda & Nissan! Now beat that!

Though the Obama administration finds you abortive, we still stand by you; for you taught us the harm that ‘addiction to legacy’ can do, and how to walk away with $26 billion of exit benefits after blowing your company to smithereens! But Rick, before we leave, here''s an information that you could use to justify the ''cold turkey'' stance that Democrats used to oust you – as per Federal records, GM contributed $1.7 million to the Republican pocket since you took over as CEO – 108.6% higher than what it gave the Democrats. Some revenge there, eh Rick? You are a veteran at GM – 32 long years and today, you''re married to Kathy & have three sons – Matthew, Scott & George. God bless you, Rick, for standing by your first wife & employer to this day. They never understood your sacrifices, did they (the US Senate, we mean)?

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012.

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