Monday, August 06, 2007

Nardelli tapped to renovate Chrysler's fortunes


Cerberus Capital has chosen former Home Depot front man Bob Nardelli to head Chrysler.

The Guardian reported in Dealbreaker's Opening Bell
The appointment of the controversial Nardelli caught industry observers on the hop this morning, as Cerberus chairman John Snow said only last week Chrysler's management would stay intact.
It is the second time an outsider has been appointed to lead a major US car-maker in the past year after Ford hired Alan Mulally as chief executive from Boeing.
Mr Nardelli is a former General Electric executive who lost out to Jeffrey Immelt in the contest to succeed Jack Welch as chief executive. He is credited with overhauling Home Depot's purchasing and technology systems, but left at a time when the share price was stagnating alongside worsening customer service, and was seen as
arrogant towards shareholders.

After Nardelli's dissapointing results with Home Depot, the jokes that can be made at his expense are all too obvious, so I'm going to play this one straight.
Given Cerberus' choice of Chief Executive for their new carmaker, this reinforces my previously stated opinion that Chrysler's rebirth will be particularly Phoenix-like: there's going to be a lot of fire and ashes. I'm not saying that the conflict between Chrysler managment and the United Auto Workers will compare with the bloody union-busting conflicts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but it's tempting mental picture, isn't it?

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2 comments:

Tom said...

It wasn't just his pay the drove Nardelli from Home Depot.

Anyone who has been a regular customer through his tenure would testify to the trend of passable customer service to abysmal customer service...to the point that there is a hardware store subculture now that has as it's mantra—anything to not go to Home Depot.

Not sure that is the result Chrysler needs or is looking for, and I'm talking here about investors not UAW members who already have one foot in the economic/employment grave.

Best thing UAW members could do at this point is bargain for the best buyout deal they can while there is still some real value and believable expectations of some economic future—cause its going to be all down hill from here and sooner than most think.

Does anyone really believe american auto workers are going to compete dollar for dollar with China?

Anonymous said...

The competition from China is an excellent point, particuarly since Nardelli seemed to indicate in his time at Home Depot that he was a one-trick pony. If Welch had not done it at GE, it was not worth doing. On the other hand, does it really matter what anyone does at Chrysler now? It would be fascinating to see the fine print in his contract with Chrysler, though. Can it best the CEO whose contract paid him in cash to compensate for the sale of the corporate jets, whose use was guaranteed to him in his contract? That he was the one who ordered the planes sold was neither here nor there, of course.