Several months after deposing the CEO of GM, and putting it and Chrysler through ultra-fast bankruptcies, former auto czar Steve Rattner has a scathing piece in Fortune slamming the incompetence of the company’s management.
Everyone knew Detroit’s reputation for insular, slow-moving cultures. Even by that low standard, I was shocked by the stunningly poor management that we found, particularly at GM, where we encountered, among other things, perhaps the weakest finance operation any of us had ever seen in a major company.
For example, under the previous administration’s loan agreements, Treasury was to approve every GM transaction of more than $100 million that was outside of the normal course. From my first day at Treasury, PowerPoint decks would arrive from GM (we quickly concluded that no decision seemed to be made at GM without one) requesting approvals. We were appalled by the absence of sound analysis provided to justify these expenditures.
The cultural deficiencies were equally stunning. At GM’s Renaissance centre headquarters, the top brass were sequestered on the uppermost floor, behind locked and guarded glass doors. Executives housed on that floor had elevator cards that allowed them to descend to their private garage without stopping at any of the intervening floors (no mixing with the drones).
It goes on like this, saying Wagoner chalked up all of GM’s troubles to “some combination of the financial crisis, oil prices, the yen-dollar exchange rate, and the UAW.”
He does call him “likeable,” however.
Here’s a video of Fortune’s Andy Serwer interviewing Rattner:
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