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GM wants Lutz back, Uncle Sam says no

General Motors reportedly wants to rehire vehicle development head Bob Lutz but the government bean-counters overseeing the progress of the post-bailout automaker have given the move a thumbs-down.

Since Bob Lutz left GM in May 2010, a variety of current GM execs (include the current CEO Dan Akerson) have reached out to Lutz for advice and with current global product development VP Mary Barra having very little experience in the field in which she is now in charge, GM could use the vast experience that Lutz brings to the table. In bringing him back on board, Lutz would only serve as a consultant and not a full-time member of the management team but even with this reduced role, the US Treasury Department has opposed the move.

The government’s reason for rejecting Lutz is that with his retirement from GM happening so recently, putting him back on the payroll could look like a “sweatheart deal” – even though the guy clearly is a benefit to the company. While the US government is pretty obviously not the best governing body as deciding who to put in charge, their partial ownership of the automaker gives them the right to influence major decisions like this one.

This seems like a strike against GM but things could change as the US government wants to sell off the remaining portion of their stock in the automaker and it’s a pretty safe bet that the automaker would like to be free of the US government. Should GM completely alleviate the government of their stock in the company, the automaker would be free to do pretty much whatever they please – within the realm of things being best for the stockholders. The other side of the coin is that in May, it will have been more than a year since Lutz initially retired from GM so the government could soften their stance on the company bringing the auto guru back in for consultation on product development.

Bob Lutz helped come up with some of General Motors most successful models (and a few not-so-successful models but no one is perfect) and getting him back on board could help the company move forward more quickly with the development of future products. With this in mind, this move should be viewed as being in the best interest of the company and the stockholders – offering more incentive for the company to get itself free of the government’s loan as soon as possible.

Source: The Daily Beast

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