TOKYO -- Frederick "Fritz" Henderson is a widely traveled General Motors executive.
The new head of GM Europe has been president of GM Asia Pacific since December 2001. He was president of GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East from June 2000 until he moved to the Asia Pacific post. From 1997 to 2000, he headed GM do Brasil, with responsibilities for GM's operations in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
During his time in Asia, Henderson was responsible for three major accomplishments:
The Isuzu experience may be most relevant for the challenges Henderson will face in Europe, particularly in terms of relations with Fiat.
In August 2002, GM made a fresh investment of 60 billion yen, or about $500 million at then-current exchange rates, and purchased control of Isuzu's key diesel-engine businesses.
At the same time, Henderson and Isuzu convinced the truckmaker's key lenders to swap their Isuzu debt for equity. That cut GM's stake in Isuzu from 49 percent to 12 percent. GM remains Isuzu's largest single shareholder.
That deal is by no means a blueprint for how the GM-Fiat relationship may evolve. Henderson's ability to pull together the complex deal, however, involved skills that could come in handy in negotiations with Fiat and its lenders.
As head of Asia Pacific, Henderson has often worked in the background, giving heads of local operations considerable autonomy.
Henderson, 45, joined GM in 1984 as a senior analyst in the GM treasurer's office in New York. He holds a bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Harvard Business School.