When Ross Perot was a General Motors director in the mid-1980s, he challenged conventional wisdom and the automaker's ingrained way of doing business. He insisted that other nonemployee directors had a fiduciary responsibility to do likewise.
He challenged and exhorted management to improve the business model continually. And the outspoken Perot said outside directors without the gumption to do the same were little more than pet rocks occupying space in a boardroom.
Perot, who joined the board when GM acquired his EDS in 1984, became something of a thorn in the side of GM CEO Roger Smith, who eventually persuaded the board to make Perot go away by buying back his GM shares for $700 million in 1986.
Well, it's probably time to shake up the GM board again.