I received this from Saab USA this morning, apparently it’s appearing on CNN Money somewhere, but I haven’t bothered trying to find it. Unsurprisingly, GM’s position is somewhat different to Jerry York and KK’s position.
Fritz Henderson, GM’s chief financial officer, told reporters after the speech that he agreed with much of York’s call for action saying, "To be honest I am in crisis mode," but he said would not discuss possible pay cuts or a change in the dividend. He disagreed with a reporter’s question which suggested that York had been reading GM management the riot act.
"I’ve been read the riot act before," said Henderson. "One of our largest shareholders was articulating quite clearly his vision for what we need to do. Frankly there’s a lot of what he had to say that I agreed with."
Henderson also disagreed with the proposal to drop the Saab or Hummer brands, saying that Hummer is the fastest growing brand in the United States and that it could be profitable. He added that the decision on Saab needed to be based on more than its very small slice of the U.S. market.
"Most of [the decision to keep or get rid of Saab] is determined by Europe, not by the U.S.," said Henderson, whose previous job at GM was running GM Europe. "I can understand [York’s] position. Frankly, you don’t take decisions quickly. I think you have to take into account all factors. And Jerry, to be fair, doesn’t really understand the situation in Europe."
There’s some interesting scenarios in comments for the post below. I’m surprised by the level of positive thinking about an Asian takeover some sort, a-la the Proton takeover of Lotus.
Surprising comments by Fritz: First up, the mere fact that Hummer isn’t profitable?! Second up, the decision to sell off Saab would come from GM Europe – somehow, I don’t think so.
Not surprising comments from Fritz: cutting the dividend and cutting salaries hasn’t been on the agenda. Doesn’t surprise me at all, but I think York was spot on in this regard. If GM want to survive this then this area is one where they could take a leaf out of the Asian’s book.
I’ll get to more of this later. Still have the sore back, unfortunately.