Steve Miller, back in the old days: A good bluffer
Miller, who got the top Delphi job last week, demonstrated that skill 25 years ago while assistant treasurer at Chrysler Corp., according to a tale recounted in the 1981 book Going For Broke: The Chrysler Story by Michael Moritz and Barrett Seaman.
Lenders worked feverishly in New York in March 1980 to craft a government-guaranteed bailout of the beleaguered automaker. A deal finally was reached the night of March 31 and was celebrated with champagne.
But a somber Miller shocked the room full of lenders the next morning with the announcement that the automaker felt it had no chance of survival and would file for bankruptcy. You could hear pens, and jaws, drop.
Seeing the reaction, Miller added, "It's April Fool's Day. It's a joke."
Said one banker, "It wasn't very damn funny."