Mother is a well-respected ad agency with offices in London, New York and Buenos Aires. Another noteable detail about Mother is that Pernilla Ammann is a partner and COO of Mother New York. That's important, because Mrs. Ammann's husband is General Motors CFO Dan Ammann. Neither point stands out on its own, but General Motors spent $600,000 with Mother to create webisodes in support of the 100th birthday of Chevrolet, and that's gotten the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commision.

It appears that the Ammanns neglected to bring the potential conflict of interest to their respective employers, since GM is saying it's only "recently learned about" the connection. Mother isn't currently doing any work for General Motors, and the automaker says that the work Mother did was beneficial to the company, and that CEO Dan Akerson and general counsel have given the deal a post-hoc ratification. As Chief Operating Officer of Mother New York, Mrs. Ammann knows what's going on with all of the office's people, participates in contract negotiations, and would certainly have been aware of a job coming over the transom from General Motors.

Despite its late-in-coming seal of approval, GM admits that some procedures were overlooked. The SEC may not smile as kindly on this whiff of nepotism, what with GM blessing the barn long after the horse had already galloped off toward the meadow.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      thedriveatfive
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nepotism sucks.
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @thedriveatfive
        Actually it doesn't if bidding is competitive and the entire transaction is transparent. It would depend on who authorized or approved the contract(s) and who has direct supervision over the contract performance. Nepotism is often called out when it isn't necessarily so. Omertà has its place as well.
      A. W. Lawson
      • 2 Years Ago
      yeah... that sounds about right...
      Britt Benston
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be one thing if GM hired one of their usual agencies owned by a mega-group they have a contract with. Then the result would be the same old GM marketing/advertising. But hiring Mother, regardless of the nepotism, shows GM is forward thinking and actually interested in a first-rate product. I have no connection to Mother but am very familiar.
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Taking lessons from the Obama administration, and its no bid contracts to Chicago-based businesses.
        untitledfolder
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Bravo for managing to turn anything... any story into your own politics. I'm pretty sure if Obama cured cancer the right would be mad he ruined the chemo industry.
          razorpit
          • 2 Years Ago
          @untitledfolder
          Unless the cure was given to him on a teleprompter I don't think we'll have to worry about that one...
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      infiniti
      • 2 Years Ago
      you average worker would have been fired ......................
        infiniti
        • 2 Years Ago
        @infiniti
        your average worker would have been fired..........................................
      Number23
      • 2 Years Ago
      You're tax dollars at work. FYI, I know GM has paid off their loans, but tax money went to purchase GM stock at a price which we'll never break even.
        Jon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Number23
        Take a crash course in grammar.
      aatbloke1967
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was skeptical enough of the accountants for old GM with their spurious ongoing deferred tax reserves, but appears that hasn't changed with the new company. Legally this should have been declared as a related party transaction in the notes to the company's accounts.
      rlog100
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice title considering you learned about this entirely from GM's own voluntary releases.
        audiohack
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rlog100
        That's called circling the wagons. GM is right to voluntarily disclose what had gone undisclosed to them.
        thedriveatfive
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rlog100
        Its a publicly traded company. They do need to disclose conflicts of interest.
      Eduardo Maal
      • 2 Years Ago
      The problem was giving them public money in the first place. Because it makes everyone think they're entitled to an opinion. A private company can do whatever it wants. Of course, now that your taxpayer money is in there, it pisses you off when they make a shitty business decision. But if everyone starts having a say on what a private company does with its money, well... Then you have communism - the community making business decisions. Everyone has a vote, and they make a governmental institution that will attempt to control it. I'm surprised that a lot of the people here criticizing the decision are way more left-wing on other issues, like the government dictating how efficient cars have to be. If you want a more efficient car, BUY ONE YOURSELF. Don't make us all drive them!
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eduardo Maal
        Have you stopped to think how the US economy would be now without the bailouts of major US corporate enterprise? There was little choice, unless you really wanted the US to go back to the dark ages.
          Eduardo Maal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Where do you think the money from the bailouts came from?
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eduardo Maal
        "I'm surprised that a lot of the people here criticizing the decision are way more left-wing on other issues, like the government dictating how efficient cars have to be. If you want a more efficient car, BUY ONE YOURSELF. Don't make us all drive them!" There is no dictating. But if you want to buy a car which is obstensibly worse for the envorinment, then you should pay for it. Driving cars is a privilege, not a right.
          Eduardo Maal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Of course there is. 1. If you want a car that consumes more gasoline, you pay for more gasoline. 2. The new CAFE regulation isn't imposing a tax on gaz guzzlers, its DICTATING that car companies must have a fuel consumption average for the cars they sell. I'm not so worried for myself, I can afford a US$ 50.000 car. But get ready for cars to become unaffordable for the majority of America. And "driving cars is a priviledge"? Are you insane? You buy a product, you have the right to use it. Look up what a "right" is in the dictionary. Is "keeping the profit of your work" a priviledge too?
      SloopJohnB
      • 2 Years Ago
      Depends on who ok'd the deal. If it was competitive, etc. Nepotism is.
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