A New Culture at General Motors—but With the Old Execs

By Staff Report

Jun. 15, 2009

The White House hopes the old dogs at General Motors can learn new tricks.

Steven Rattner, head of President Barack Obama’s auto task force, says changing GM’s bureaucratic culture is critical to reinvigorating the bankrupt automaker.

“Addressing cultural issues is just as fundamental to our assignment as addressing the balance sheet or financing,” he said in published reports.

But GM lifers dominate the company’s senior management. Of the automaker’s 12 executives with a rank of group vice president or above, only three have been with GM less than 20 years.

Take the two men most responsible for GM’s future cars and trucks: Tom Stephens, vice chairman for global product development, and John Smith, group vice president for global product planning. Each has spent 40 years at GM.

On June 12, purchasing boss Bo Andersson left GM. He was a relative newcomer, having joined in 1987. Change may come as others follow him out the door.

“We will lean out the management structure so that it will allow us to make faster decisions,” GM chief financial officer Ray Young said. He declined to say how many will leave, but said, “We will eliminate layers of management.”

Filed by James B. Treece and David Barkholz of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

Workforce Management’s online news feed is now available via Twitter.

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog

Staffing Management

Managing employee time-off requests: A guide for business owners

Summary Vacation, sick time, PTO banks, and unpaid leave are only a few forms of employee time off — Mo...

workforce blog


Labor analytics: A how-to guide for company leadership

Make sure to start small, clean your data, use data from a variety of sources and use desired business ...

data analytics, employee data, HR Tech, people analytics, talent management

workforce blog


Why tattleware isn’t the solution for underperforming teams

If your employees can take their smartphones out of their pockets to circumvent your efforts, how can y...

employee monitoring, HR technology, tattleware