Who Rules GM?

by Chris Sturr | December 07, 2008

GM is famous for being one of the world’s largest transnational industrial corporations, for laying off its U.S. factory workers before it lays off its cheaper labor in its factories outside the Untied States, for manufacturing tanks for both the German Army and the U.S. Army during World War II, and for being so mismanaged that it can’t compete successfully with Japanese Establishment-owned automobile manufacturers. So what’s good for General Motors is not necessarily what’s good for most people in the United States.

But as the GM web site reveals, in recent years GM’s board of directors has included the following U.S. Establishment businesspeople:

1. Morgan Stanley, North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance, Cousins Properties and Erskine Bowles & Co. Director, Carousel Capital Senior Advisor, University of North Carolina President and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.

2. Goldman Sachs Group Director, former Sara Lee Chairman/CEO and University of Chicago and Art Institute of Chicago Trustee John Bryan.

3. Merrill Lynch, Home Depot, AMR Director and Flagler Development CEO Armando Codina.

4.Coca Cola Chairman/CEO, former Sun Trust Banks Director and Center for Strategic International Studies and U.S. Council for International Business Trustee E. Neville Isdell.

5. Deutsche Bank Advisory Board Member and former Compaq Computer CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer.

6. BP and Union Pacific Director, former Alliance Energy Chairman/CEO, University System of Georgia Chancellor and University of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon University Trustee Erroll Davis Jr.

7. Harris Corporation, Home Depot, Catalyst Director, former Pfizer Vice-chairman, Pfizer Foundation Chairman, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures Senior Adviser and University of Chicago Trustee Karen Katen.

8. Former Northrup Grumman Chairman, Fluor, Avery Denison and Mannkind Director, MIT Lincoln Library Advisory Board Member, California Institute of Technology and Haynes Foundation Trustee Kent Kresa.

9. E.I. DuPont de Nemours Executive Vice-President and Tufts University Trustee Ellen Kullman.

10. Former Ernst & Young Chairman/CEO and Loew’s, Discover Financial Services and Henry Schein Director Philip Laskawy.

11. Former GE Fleet Services CEO and Ceridian Chairman/CEO Kathryn Marinello.

12. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts Senior Advisor and former Eastman Kodak Chairman/CEO George Fisher.

13. Former Astra Zeneca PLC-UK Chairman Percy Barnevik.

14. Former GM de Brasil President, Duke University Trustee and Harvard Business School Dean’s Advisory Board Member G. Richard Wagoner, Jr.

Similarly, in the early 1990s, GM’s board of directors included the following U.S. Establishment businesspeople:

1. Citibank/Citicorp, PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson Director Roger Smith.

2. Chevron/Gulf Oil, Bechtel and Boeing Director George Shultz.

3. J.P. Morgan & Co./Morgan Guaranty Trust Director Dennis Weatherstone.

4. Citibank/Citicorp, AT & T, Metropolitan Life Insurance Director and Rockefeller Brothers Fund Trustee James Evans.

5. National Bank of Detroit/NBD Bancorp and American Airlines Director Charles Fisher III.

6. Merck & Co. and NCR Corp. Director John Horan.

7. Marriott Corp. Director J. Willard Marriott Jr.

8. Chase Manhattan Bank/Chase Manhattan Corp., International Paper Co., and Pfizer Inc. Director Edmund Pratt Jr.

9. J.P. Morgan & Co./Morgan Guaranty Trust and Procter & Gamble Director John Smale.

10. AT&T Director Thomas Wyman.

So don’t be surprised if the corporate folks who still rule the privately-owned and not yet-nationalized GM eventually get a big corporate welfare grant from the U.S. Establishment’s federal government—-before GM’s rulers once again start laying-off more of its U.S. factory workers in 2009 who are members of the UAW.

–b.f.

2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. How are American car companies supposed to compete when union wages, pensions, and healthcare make American cars about $2000 more expensive to produce?

  2. See more recent posts (< HREF="http://www.dollarsandsense.org/blog/2008/12/beware-fudged-facts-about-us-auto-wages.html" REL="nofollow">here<> and < HREF="http://www.dollarsandsense.org/blog/2008/12/more-on-myth-of-73hour-auto-worker.html" REL="nofollow">here<>). As David Leonhardt of the New York Times has explained, union wages, pensions, and healthcare add under $900 per car. Furthermore, to the extent that health care expenses are a burden on the auto companies (and lots of other companies–D&S included!), that’s an argument for universal, single-payer health care, not for busting the UAW. Finally, as Dean Baker has explained, it’s not as if auto workers in other countries (e.g. Japan and South Korea) aren’t unionized.

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