[ad#post_ad]When former GM CEO Fritz Henderson was ousted last week it came as a surprise to many. Ed Whitacre, the former CEO of AT&T who had himself been installed as GM's Chairman of the Board was responsible for Henderson's dismissal and put himself in charge. While GM searches for a new external CEO, Whitacre has indicated he may stay in the role for as long as a year. GM executive pay caps installed as a result of government ownership would limit attracting new talent.
Whitacre also made some other rapid shifts in executive management including moving vice chairman Bob Lutz from marketing back to product development. Lutz will remain vice chariman and along with the other vice chairman Tom Stephens will advise Whitacre.
Whitacre is known to be a stern taskmaster and is shaking up the company to remove some of its inbred mentality to avoid repeating some of the same mistakes of the past.
But Whitacre's seizing of the wheel raises some questions from those of us interested in the Volt and GM's shift to electrification.
At his recent keynote address Bob Lutz said "We have significantly expanded our commitment to electrically-driven vehicles at GM, and are now in the midst of an extraordinary transformation."
"GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles," he said. "This is a big deal."
I subsequently had the chance to ask Mr. Lutz if Mr. Whitacre was also committed to electrification of the automobile.
"He will not try to run the programs," Lutz told GM-Volt.com. "He (by his own admission) knows almost nothing about the business."
"Nobody will diminish our focus on electrification," declared Lutz.