A Moment for Soul-Searching Honesty
If the turnaround plans the auto executives have already put in place are insufficient to make their firms competitive, there is not much they can do now as part of a deal for a government loan. Because of the public controversy, these three CEOs now face some of the most wrenching decisions for someone in an executive position.
These leaders can't redo the last decade, or change the fact that much of the criticism in the public domain is largely uninformed about the realities that have brought the American automotive industry so low. Nor can these executives hide from the fact that the president-elect and a powerful Senate committee chairman are signaling -- one obliquely, one directly -- that these CEOs should be held accountable for their lack of progress as part of any government loan.
Leaving aside the advisability of whether government should select chief executives of private companies, and the fairness or unfairness of the pressures being put on these corporate leaders and their boards, the dynamics of decision now become very personal, and they boil down to three questions for these CEOs.
Can they still effectively represent the corporation to its many constituencies, the legislature, the work force, and the car-buying public? Is it really in the best interests of the company's immediate future to replace the current leadership team? Finally, do the executives have the endurance, persistent creativity under fire, and support from the workforce and their boards to continue through these very rough waters?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then the boards and the union and not just the CEOs must step up and make the case publicly.
Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org | December 10, 2008 2:51 AM
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