Steve Rattner is a man we admire but do not envy. Rattner, a former Wall Street banking type with zero experience in the automotive or manufacturing world, was tasked by President Obama with guiding General Motors and Chrysler through their restructuring efforts. Not a small job, by any means. Or one we would wish on our worst enemies. That said, it was a HUGE job, and huge jobs typically make for great stories. Rattner, in an article he penned himself for CNN's Money doesn't disappoint. At all. Allow us to tantalize you with some quotes:
When the Obama administration took office on Jan. 20, it inherited nothing in the auto area: no staff, no stacks of analyses, no plans of any kind. The Bush administration had decided in late December that GM and Chrysler were not going to go bankrupt on its watch and had shoveled $17.4 billion of TARP money into the companies to keep them afloat, but without any meaningful stab at restructuring them.Oh snap! But really, that's not even the tip of the juicy iceberg. How about this apple, er, lack of apple:
Hungry for more? We haven't even scratched the surface, as our man Rattner is just getting warmed up. Here's one more for you about Rattner and friends first trip to Detroit:When I asked our energetic young chief of staff, Haley Stevens, what we were going to give our visitors for lunch, she replied, "Nothing. Treasury has no budget for even bottles of water." It seemed harsh to expect our guests to go many hours without eating, so I gave Haley $100 and told her to go to a sandwich shop. That became our hospitality protocol.
Don't tell Lutz. And hey, speaking of Maximum Bob and his pals, here's what Ratner has to say about Detroit Management:What we didn't prepare for was the intense public interest in our visit to these hard-hit communities. Throngs of reporters awaited us at every stop while a news helicopter buzzed overhead. More peculiarly, the ensuing press coverage seemed wildly over-focused on our test drive of the Chevy Volt, as if the company's salvation rested on this one vehicle.
And Mr. Rattner is just getting warmed up. Just wait 'till he gets to Wagoner. We implore you all to jump over to CNN to read the rest. Hat tip to chemistrusaz!Everyone knew Detroit's reputation for insular, slow-moving cultures. Even by that low standard, I was shocked by the stunningly poor management that we found, particularly at GM, where we encountered, among other things, perhaps the weakest finance operation any of us had ever seen in a major company.
[Source: CNN Money | Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty]