What do you want?
Mr. Kerkorian sent me. I'm here to help you.
You can just imagine how excited General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, his officer corps and board of directors were to learn that investor Kirk Kerkorian plans to increase his investment in GM and ask for a board seat.
But how bad could it be?
Wall Street is still waiting for a detailed recovery plan about how GM will regain or at least maintain market share in North America and return to profitability. Kerkorian hasn't made any outrageous demands, even though he owns nearly 10 percent of the company.
It's not like the GM guys don't know Kerkorian's adjutant, Jerry York. He was in town on an extended tour of duty.
Heck, York and GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz were colleagues at Chrysler, warriors serving together in troubled times. And when York left Chrysler and joined Kerkorian in his attempt to take over Chrysler, they might have liked Lutz to run the joint after the war.
But now it's peace time. Kerkorian says he has no hostile intentions at GM, he's just looking to make a couple of bucks. It seems reasonable that an investor who owns 10 percent of a large publicly traded company would want a board seat. I'd want some say in turning things around, wouldn't you?
It wouldn't surprise me to find out that York has been out nosing around GM, looking at future products. After all, York is a car guy. And if he liked what he saw -- some of the new stuff is quite nice -- it could explain why Kerkorian already has upped his stake once and is prepared to raise it again.
Any nervousness at GM probably stems from some of the turnaround ideas floating around investment circles.
One group of investors believes GM should file for bankruptcy and use the cover of Chapter 11 to ditch expensive labor agreements and other cost burdens. But that won't happen.
Some on Wall Street want a merger. But who would be a good marriage partner? Others want to drain the hidden value by spinning off assets such as General Motors Acceptance Corp. -- never mind that GMAC is a key component in the sales and marketing chain.
As a car guy, York knows how things work, what's necessary and what isn't. Having him represent Kerkorian on the GM board makes sense. If Kerkorian's intentions are honorable it could be a good thing.
Who knows? Jerry York just might be able to help.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at