Akerson: GM “Won’t Hesitate” to Make Personnel Changes With Profit in Mind

Detroit is still scratching its head after the sudden departures of General Motors’ Global Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick and North American interior design chief David Lyon. But GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson was unapologetic on a conference call this week, when he said the company “won’t hesitate” to make more moves like that in the future.
Both Lyon and Ewanick were in the midst of big projects or changes when they abruptly parted ways with the company. Lyon, who was North American interior design chief when he left GM, was just days away from becoming VP of design at GM Europe. Ewanick was busy inking a deal to make Chevrolet the official shirt sponsor of England’s famed Manchester United soccer club. Now, Man U’s shirts will carry the Chevrolet logo, and GM Europe’s looking for a new design chief.
Detroit News reports that GM CEO took a hard line when speaking to reporters on a conference call yesterday. “In recent weeks, you have seen that we do not hesitate to act when change is required to make the business stronger,” he reportedly said.
In terms of making the business stronger, GM could use a little help: its revenue in the second quarter of this year was $37.6 billion, $1.8 billion less than the same time last year, and net income sank from $2.5 billion in the second quarter of 2011 to $1.5 billion in Q2 2012. Chalk it up to increased competition: while GM gained success and market share last years as Japanese automakers floundered after the March earthquake, the Japanese have returned with a vengeance. Couple that with a seriously uneasy economy in Europe (where it lost $361 million last quarter), and GM bosses are rightly unhappy.
With an uneasy European climate and profits slowing, we wouldn’t rule out any more high profile personnel changes–even abrupt changes–and neither is Akerson. “From time to time,” he said, GM would consider “parting company with people who are not delivering expected results.”
Source: Detroit News

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