Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fritz Henderson Shown the Door at GM

Ed Whitacre takes "Interim" CEO Role

It was a surprise, but it shouldn't have been. In a hastily arranged press conference GM board chairman Ed Whitacre, Jr. announced that Fritz Henderson would be vacating his position as CEO of the company, and Whitacre himself would be taking over as interim CEO. It seems that Henderson was basically fired but went willingly. Clearly, Henderson and the board had different ideas regarding strategy. The best example was the on-again-off-again sale of Opel.

Looking back, Henderson was doomed from the start. He was an insider from the GM accounting department, where lies were cooked to order every quarter. The government-backed board needed Henderson to help them sort out the mess and get through the merger, but just because you need Gollum to lead you to the fires of Mordor, you aren't going to trust him to throw the ring into the fire.

Whitacre was brought in by the Government because he was an outsider with experience running a large corporation. He retired as President and CEO of AT&T in 2007. He was formerly the national head of the Boy Scouts of America, so he must "be prepared" for the job. Unlike the past two GM CEOs, Mr. Ed isn't particularly funny-looking.

(Picture from

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