• Dec 10th 2008 at 9:31AM
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Calls for the replacement of Rick Wagoner at General Motors raise an intriguing question: who would be the best choice to take the reigns of America's largest automaker if Wagoner were ousted? Some would point directly to GM COO Fritz Henderson, but we're not so sure that Washington would go along with that idea. A slightly more palatable choice may be found in Nissan/Renault head-honcho Carlos Ghosn, who has managed to right the sinking ship that was Nissan in the early 2000s after taking the helm in 1999. Seems like a logical choice, then.

CNN has a few other options to consider, including Robert Lane, chairman and of Deere & Co., John G. Rice, vice chairman of General Electric and president and CEO of GE Technology Infrastructure and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat S.p.A. We could possibly see Marchionne getting the nod, considering that he's had plenty of experience in the automotive world, but many would surely question whether GM should go the way of Chrysler and Ford by appointing non-car-guys to take the helm.

[Source: CNN]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      The CEO of FIAT? Really?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sure, the man who brought FIAT back into profit, produced several top selling world cars, and now commands a company with a market capitalization a half dozen or so times larger than GM's.

        His management style also proves it's possible to have the likes of Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and other automotive divisions all under one roof and not step on each other's toes by producing clone cars, like certain company's different divisions presently do.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Would Ghosn be the best choice? In a word - yes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yup, just like Mulally he has a proven immediate track record of turning companies around - and a ton of experience with the kind of cars people are clamoring for now. I'm not a big fan of the idea, mostly because I don't care for the guy, but you can't argue with his credentials.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great picture.

      Actually I don't care for Wagoner on a personal level -- then again I do not know him at all really -- however has had consistently done exactly the right thing for GM at substantial contrast to what the "expert" kept saying. Essentially he has funded anything to do with GM products -- he did fund the SUVs when I knew it was a crazy dumb idea, but besides that well done.

      Here's a name though ... Lee Iacocca ... he was "defamed" by Chrysler when he wanted to buy them out -- but what a common sense speaker. Cuts right to the chase. He would be terrific. Everytime he speaks the world seems better.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There isn't a person alive who could right the ship with all the meddling from the government and a half-assed bailout plan. It's an impossible situation.
      • 6 Years Ago
      No, I don't see Ghosn as a good idea.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Renault FIRST, Nissan SECOND. Renault-Nissan. Easy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Of course, GM should appoint Steve Jobs to head the company. Not only would he introduce the iCar, he works for a dollar a year!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can totally see Carlos Ghosn leading GM.

      You forget the mess that was Nissan before he stepped in.


      "the best choice to take the reigns"

      • 6 Years Ago
      When they gave the bank those huge loanes, did anyone ask for the dismissal of the bank CEO's?????
      No, sir.

      Whenever I talk to an american and ask how they feel about GM/Ford/Chrysler products, they always complain about the poor quality they think these products have. And always their opinion is based upon poor experiences in the eighties or early nineties, not based upon today's vehicles.
      So the mistakes were made in those days.
      When looking on GM and Ford I believe were on the right track.
      So don't tell me Wagoner has to go. And if they fire him, I think he should be replaced by Carl Peter Forster.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why look for somebody else when Rick Wagoner is the best although the people who don't know what is going on with GM, will disagree.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just keep the current management team. They are onto something good in the near future. They understand the company and they understand the challenges and they are aware of the upcoming future product. I wish the North American reaction to any problem didn't have to be so reactionary and short-term oriented. Instead, the government should work with the current management and sort out actual union and healthcare issues.
      • 6 Years Ago
      When will Autoblog learn that it's Renault-Nissan, in that order. Ghosn is the CEO of Renault first in time and importance, Nissan second. Renault purhcased 40% of Nissan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        In terms of time that Ghosn spends working for each brand, it's a 50-50 split. And while Renault owns 44% of Nissan, Nissan owns 15% of Renault - but that doesn't reflect anything in terms of importance to Ghosn. Nissan has been making more money than Renault consistently during the tie-up, and you can't help thinking that profit is what drives Ghosn, not the percentage share swap.

        Elsewhere it's been said that Ghosn would/could turnaround GM. He is a supreme turn-around artist, but the first and foremost skill a turn-around artist has is to recognise which companies can be turned around. Perhaps he's had a look and doesn't much fancy his chances with GM.

        Nissan turned around super-fast due to some pretty basic steps - he sold a lot of assets and divested Nissan of shareholdings in its suppliers, liberating cash, while investing massively in the US on SUVs and pick ups, as well as dramatically shaking up the culture within and empowering management to take decisions and be accountable for them. All fairly fundamental things.

        Perhaps the unpalatable truth is that GM is just too big, too arthritic and too weighed down to be saved? I hope not, but maybe that's the case.
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