Sunday, August 21, 2016

GM's Akerson: Clinton Campaign Ignition

Carlyle Group Vice Chairman and former General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson wrote recently:

When I worked at General Motors, our global operations comprised more than 100 plants and roughly a quarter-million employees. Supply-chain management and the orchestration of commodities, parts and components around the globe required a multinational, interdisciplinary effort. In every chief executive job I have had, my team and I spent countless hours analyzing global trends, listening to experts, learning from others and making informed, reasoned decisions. 
From this description one could deduce Akerson knew about GM's ignition switch problems.  He's been silent on the matter and no Congressional hearing on the matter required he reveal his knowledge or actions.

A new investigation is opened into front crashes of Cobalts and Pontiac G5s where airbags did not deploy. Ignition switches are removed from cars in salvage yards and tested. 

Engineers notice all the crashes in which the ignition was switched out of "Run" only happened in cars from the 2007 model year and earlier. 

GM investigators notice that ignition switches in cars built in later years are less prone to moving out of position than ignitions in earlier models. GM hires outside engineers to conduct a thorough assessment of ignition switches from cars made before and after 2007. They conclude that changes were made to the ignition switch sometime after the cars first went into production. A GM committee is asked to consider a recall of Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 cars from the 2007 model year and earlier.
We don't know if Akerson ignored the ignitions switch problem going on during CEO-ship or subordinates were pressured not to bring bad news to the top. 

When corporate actions kill people CEO's become instantly ignorant.  Praise they are happy to take but blame must be delegated.

Last June, GM CEO Mary Barra fired 15 employees deemed responsible for not tackling the problem vigorously enough.
Mary Barra did not identify the role Mr. Akerson played in not tackling the problem vigorously enough.

Carlyle Group Vice Chairman Akerson endorsed Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in his letter.  Carlyle made big money from President Bill Clinton's two terms in office.  President Obama dined with Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein numerous times.

Remember politicians Red and Blue love PEU.  When future business is at stake top executives are artful, eloquent and charming.  That evaporates when their company kills people.