Off With His Head… Oops Never Mind!
General Motors bankruptcy in June of 2009 this commentator made an observation on a national network news broadcast — that many of the problems of the company in terms of a better product mix and a revenue rich global strategy were already underway — as long as five years before the financial crash triggered car-mageddon.
The anchor cut off this line of discussion — to re-establish point that America’s greatest industrial company was headed for the scrap-heap!
And yet this week the 103 year-old General Motors corporation announced a record profit of $7.6 billion for 2011 — beating the previous $6.7 billion record posted in 1997 when the economy was red-hot.
To put this relatively astounding news in perspective — this is not the same GM. It is a far smaller company having jettisoned Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer and SAAB. And while still 26.5 percent owned by the US government — it has far less debt, more rational labor obligations and is better managed with far less waste and corporate pork.
When GM was down for the count, those of us who had been watching these companies for some 30 plus years were uncomfortable being tagged as apologists for the excesses of the bad old days of Detroit. But at the same time the smart moves made a decade before the crash by the now disgraced GM Chairman Rick Wagoner were a salient details that should not have been so easily dismissed.