UPDATE: Bob Lutz reconsiders retirement, stays on at new GM
General Motors’ former product chief Bob Lutz has changed his mind and will not retire at the end of 2009 as he originally intended. The outspoken Lutz, currently GM’s head of marketing and communications, will "un-retire,” CEO Fritz Henderson confirmed today, saying Lutz will working on creative design, brands, marketing and advertising at the company. He will report to Henderson.
The move was announced the day after GM re-emerging from bankruptcy after a federal judge allowed a sale of the company’s best assets to be sold to a new entity while unwanted assets will be liquidated.
“We will merge the marketing, brand and image under Lutz,” Henderson said.
Lutz announced in February that he was to retire at the end of the year after GM’s finances spiraled out of control and required government intervention. But on the day that the GM emerged from bankruptcy as a new company, sources close to Lutz related that he was now set to reverse his decision to step down and will continue his current role, while also having a hand in future product design.
The “new GM,” emerged Thursday after it exited its 39-day stay in bankruptcy protection. Under the terms of the sale, GM will now be 60.8 percent owned by the U.S. Treasury. The new GM will be focused around its four key brands – GMC, Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet – while other unwanted assets will be left behind in bankruptcy court to be sold off or liquidated.
Pontiac is the major brand that will be discontinued, while Saturn, Saab, Hummer and Opel/Vauxhall will be sold off.
The U.S. treasury is providing new GM with $60 billion of funding in return for its majority stake. The United Auto Workers union are the next biggest stakeholder with 17.5 percent, while the Canadian government and GM bondholders will get 11.7 percent and 10 percent respectively.
“One thing we have learned from the last 100 days is that GM can move quickly and decisively,” Henderson said. Today, we take the intensity, decisiveness and speed of the past several months and transfer it from the triage of the bankruptcy process to the creation and operation of a new General Motors.
“Business as usual is over at GM. Today starts a new era for General Motors and everyone associated with the company. Going forward, the new General Motors is fully committed to listening to customers, responding to consumer and market trends, and empowering the people closest to the customer to make the decisions.
“Our goal is to build more of the cars, trucks, and crossovers that customers want, and to get them to market faster than ever before.”
The U.S. Treasury plans to run new GM as a less bureaucratic company by cutting 20 percent of its white collar workforce ad 35 per cent of executives. It will become a more fuel-efficient company, based around its flagship plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, which is due to go on sale later next year.