The current Venture Capital Road Trip (literally Wagoner and Mullaly are driving from Detroit to Washington in hybrids; Nardelli reserves the right to fly) reeks of prepackaged public relations. These guys presided over huge destruction in shareholder value and been very well compensated for it. The WSJ now reports that Ford will speed up production of Hybrids and that William Clay Ford believes Ford can be the green car company of the future. No. You will not get away with this. You can’t even run your own football team.
Bill Ford and Alan Mullaly had their chance and they kept pushing Broncos and Explorers down our collective throats. GM has been told to reduce their number of brands for decades and they haven’t done it. I guarantee you that Rick Wagoner has been driving an SUV for years. Did anybody see the film Roger and Me (1990)? It’s like nothing has changed at GM in a twenty years. I will not be suckered by this staggeringly disingenuous offer to take $1 dollar in compensation next year. Mullaly made $22mm last year. Come on people.
My guess is that bankruptcy restructuring remains our most prudent course of action, but I will consider some kind of loan package if management is radically changed at any car company that receives federal assitance. Collectively the big 3 have been broken strategically, culturally and financially for years. They have lived off of financing revenues for decades. They are an American embarrassment.
The Obama mandate is change. We cannot allow Detroit’s car companies to receive taxpayer money without a radical restructuring of corporate governance. This includes directors who approved compensation packages and did not push their managers to seek pre-packaged bankruptcy solutions. Even now, Rick Wagoner maintains bankruptcy is not an option. This is the equivalent of a startup CEO saying to his VCs, ” oh you’ll give me more money. I’m not worried. ” They don’t have a creative bone in their bodies. They must, must be thrown out.
I’m so pissed off right now I can’t think straight. A month ago, Lindzon wrote that he wanted to punch somebody at the company. At the time, I thought that was aggressive, now I’m worried even Howard was too soft on these fuckers. Are you kidding me with the $1 salary this week? Two weeks ago, Mulally was asked about his compensation and he said, “I’m fine where I am.” Guys, you need to admit you have done a terrible job. Typically, I don’t believe in trying to recoup compensation, but if we’re doing a bailout here I think we are entitled.
Look, I’m ranting. Elizabeth Kolbert (the best environmental journalist in America except for Michael Pollan) wrote a nice editorial in The NewYorker. Read her here. And while you are at it, please support and subscribe to The NewYorker. It’s a national treasure.
Disclosure: I am a subscriber and avid reader of The NewYorker.
If you agree, please email me or comment below. I will move the whole discussion to the offices of Nancy Pelosi and Carl Levin to name a few.
Filed under: economy, media, Politics | Tagged: Auto Industry, change, Chrysler, Elizabeth Kolbert, Ford, GM, Mullaly, Nardelli, National Treasure, Obama, Talk of the Tonwn, The New Yorker, Wagoner, William Clay Ford |