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A Sound-Bite Survey of General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson
So who is Fritz Henderson, GM's interim CEO? What follows are a few things you never wanted to know about any guy named Fritz.
- The 50 year-old career executive has been with GM for half his natural life. He joined the auto giant as a senior analyst in the Treasurer's office in 1984, age 25.
- Bachelor's in Business Administration from the University of Michigan, where he played baseball.
- MBA from Harvard Business School
- He currently lives in Florida and commutes weekly to Detroit. (Can you say economy class? Neither can he).
So far the mustache man has been a buzzkill. He keeps harping on how bankruptcy is an option, that dealers will be shut down and jobs will be lost—all in an effort to meet the White House's goals. He then adds, "If I was opposed to bankruptcy, I would have said no" to becoming CEO. (OK, but do you have to be so giddy about it?)
As early as the summer of 2005, Fritz blamed US health care costs for creating excessive losses in GM's American operations. It's a theme he'll return to. In this same article there are already hints that Wagoner's time is running out and that Fritz is his likely replacement.
This 2006 Fortune piece says Fritz is Wagoner's "most qualified replacement" but that he would "bring to the job the same kind of skills and experience that Wagoner has, but without Wagoner's charisma." (Wagoner had charisma???)
In 2007 Fritz rehashed his attack on US health care costs, snapping that GM "burns $4 billion every year on health care." (How dare auto workers waste company loot on health care; they should stop using it and just be happy to have it). He's also talking bankruptcy, but says GM is "in the midst of a turnaround."
In November 2007 he blamed GM's poor financial performance in part on the Canadian dollar, the price of steel, and weak US sales. (Canada ruins everything).
In December 2008 Fortune mused about who might replace Wagoner if Obama booted him. They said Fritz's chances were "slim" and that "any government bailout would be accompanied by demands for a wholesale restructuring of the company with limits on executive control that Henderson would likely find objectionable."
Finally, this anti-Fritz entry at thegmsource.com, following on the heels of his promotion to CEO. notes that Fritz once headed up a division of parts supplier Delphi, "a company that has been in bankruptcy court for the past several years costing GM billions of dollars."
At least he has bankruptcy experience.
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