Is Bob Lutz headed back into the saddle at General Motors?
A report today says GM wants to hire the former product czar as a paid consultant.
Doron Levin writes on The Daily Beast that GM is getting pushback on the idea from the U.S. Treasury. The government worries that hiring the 79-year-old Lutz as a consultant could smack of a golden parachute if GM, still part-owned by taxpayers, pays him so soon after his May 2010 retirement, Levin reports, citing an unnamed Detroit source.
GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky downplayed the idea when asked about it during a meeting with analysts today.
“Lutz’ personality is something we miss a lot,” Girsky said. “Every now and then we call on him when we need him. But I think the organization is learning to live without Bob.”
That’s probably a good thing.
Bringing Lutz back could distract from the momentum GM has right now. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and 42 mpg Chevy Cruze Eco are generating plenty of buzz and burnishing GM’s reputation for innovation.
Girsky rightly credits Lutz for much of GM’s recent product successes. But bringing him back wouldn’t be viewed as a vote of confidence in Mary Barra, who was tapped last month as GM’s new product-development chief.
Girsky’s right: GM should show that it has other “car guys” capable of carrying on Lutz’ legacy.