Finally we know who's to blame at General Motors.
Obviously, it's Tom Kowaleski's fault that GM lost $8.55 billion last year. His fault that GM had bled more than 2 full percentage points of market share the last couple of years. His fault the dog won't eat the dog food.
Tom, you should have kept that stuff out of the papers.
Kowaleski's specialty is product public relations, and it has been his specialty since I met him a quarter-century ago in his AMC-Renault days.
To some it seemed a stretch when Tom succeeded his friend and mentor, Steve Harris, as the top pr guy at GM. But he had worked alongside The Master for decades, performing pr miracles at AMC, Chrysler and GM, so why not give Tom a chance?
With Tom as the top pr guy, GM had great product-related events. And you would see Tom at auto shows walking in the entourage behind Bob Lutz as the GM product guru toured the show.
But you also would see Tom alone with CEO Rick Wagoner, helping get the finance guy up to speed on the competition's hardware.
Apparently, it wasn't good enough.
You can almost see Rick Wagoner sitting in a dark room like in the film "The Godfather."
"Tom, you're out."
"I need a wartime consigliere. And who better to advise me than Steve Harris at a time like this?"
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]