White House auto task force chief shocked by GM’s poor quality of management

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

While it isn't shocking, a White House auto task force chief said the that the management of the automakers who spiraled into bankruptcy are said to possess poor quality management is still news.

Steve Rattner, the investment banker who headed the Obama administration's auto task force until July, gave his views in an article published by Fortune magazine.

Rattner said that he already knew the Detroit companies' reputation for insular, slow-moving cultures.

However, even by that low standard, he was still taken aback by the stunningly poor management that they found, especially at General Motors. Rattner said that GM had "perhaps the weakest finance operation any of us had ever seen in a major company."

He revealed that the task force was deeply divided over whether to fund Chrysler's restructuring in bankruptcy and whether the automaker could survive to repay the investment.

"A close call" is how Rattner describes the decision to offer Chrysler $12 billion in emergency financing to restructure under the management control of Fiat S.p.A.

What convinced the administration to submit the offer was the scenario of a liquidation process that would cost 300,000 jobs. Rattner said that at one point, the key members of the task force had been split 4-to-4 on whether to offer Chrysler financing. [via autonews]

Topics: gm, united states

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