The Symbolic Gesture

*Disclaimer - The thoughts and opinions shared here do not reflect those of my employer*

There you have it, the obligatory indemnification statement. These past few weeks many people have asked for my comments regarding the auto industry bailout and the very difficult circumstances that have beset the American automakers.

To be clear, there is much blame to go around. I don't think there would be much argument that US auto industry has its work cut out. It will not be an easy task to remove the perception that greed and lack of foresight were major contributors in its demise.

I would probably need to write a novel to chronicle the rise and fall. However, that isn't the purpose of this entry. Methinks the recurring theme of executive compensation is the subject that seems to rub most people. Obviously this applies to many industries not simply US automakers.

When Chrysler was nearly bankrupt circa 1970's, Iaccoca made the symbolic gesture of accepting a $1.00 for his annual salary. While I have no idea what sort of compensation package Iaccoca landed as CEO of Chrysler, I would venture to guess he would be fine with a buck for 1yr salary. The gesture sent a message to Congress that he was confident that his company would survive.

The irony is that nearly 40yrs later the big 3, err I mean Big 2.5 find themselves in a similar pickle. All 3 CEOs were asked the same question. Take a buck, save your industry, show a bit of humility. There is no doubt that all 3 are well paid, so it truly would be a symbolic gesture at best. The former Boeing exec was the only CEO that was reluctant to accept the $1.00. It does appear that he has changed his tune recently.
Clearly, I was miffed by his statement of, "I'm good".. Indeed, the symbolic gesture would've have sent a clear message to the troops, but he failed miserably.

Now there are caravans heading to DC, combined with a more strategic plan for recovery. Let's hope its not three weeks too late and a dollar short. More on this later.

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    This page contains a single entry by AG published on December 3, 2008 1:26 AM.

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