KausFiles
General Motors Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson addresses the media before the company General Motors Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson addresses the media before the company's annual shareholder meeting in Detroit, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)  

Mayhem at GM

This wasn’t supposed to happen until Nov. 7: It’s like the last act of Titus Andronicus over at GM corporate headquarters.

Two weeks ago, Opel chief Karl-Friedrich Stracke presented numbers to Dan Akerson. Akerson fires him. Opel gets two interim chiefs in a week. Last Thursday, Opel’s new design chief Dave Lyon doesn’t even start his job. Today, media in the U.S. and Germany report that Lyon had been escorted from the building and to a waiting car by GM’s head of personnel. A day later, global marketing chief Joel Ewanick suddenly leaves. Instead of wishing him all the best for his future endeavors, GM spokesman Greg Martin puts a knife in Ewanick’s back: “He failed to meet the expectations the company has of an employee.”

I’m having trouble understanding all this. I’ve been told that after its Rattnerized bailout GM is “back,” a dramatic ”success story.” The president himself has boasted “General Motors is back on top.” Yet now a few weeks later Bloomberg says the company is in a “slump”–it’s right there, in the headline: “slump.” How can the bailed out, comebacked, turned around success story GM be in a slump when the U.S. auto market as a whole is growing rapidly? It’s almost as if an easily spun media wildly underestimated the problems at GM (and the inadequacy of the administration’s fixes) in a way that helped President Obama’s favored narrative (and pleased a major advertiser at the same time!) …

P.S.: Why is all this executive turmoil happening now? It’s very hard for an outsider to know exactly what is going on, but there are three theories. 1) GM CEO Akerson is panicking (Truth About Cars’ theory); 2) Akerson is kind of incompetent and hires people he then chases away or has to fire; 3) … I’m thinking of a third. … What’s the third? I know there’s a third. …

P.P.S.: I’d forgotten that in April, 2010 President Obama told the nation (in his weekly radio address)

“It won’t be too long before the stock the Treasury is holding in GM could be sold ….”

Two years later, the Treasury still owns more than 26% of GM. The stock price of the dramatic administration success story is too low to sell without taking gigantic, embarrassing losses. …