Ex-Home Depot boss to lead New Chrysler By DEE-ANN DURBIN, AP Auto
Chrysler began its new life as a private company on Monday with an
auto-industry outsider taking the wheel.
Bob Nardelli, who left Home Depot in January after a shareholder
rebellion over his outsized pay, was named to head the company,
replacing Tom LaSorda, who is taking the No. 2 slot.
Nardelli and LaSorda shared a handshake and posed for pictures during
a celebratory event at Chrysler's headquarters in Auburn Hills.
"We'll move forward with speed and a renewed focus on meeting the
needs of our customers," Nardelli said.
Some wondered what effect Nardelli's hiring would have on ongoing
contract talks with the United Auto Workers, but Nardelli was quick to
point out Monday that union President Ron Gettelfinger already has
been contacted about the executive shake-up at Chrysler in a two-hour
LaSorda, Chrysler LLC's newly named president and vice chairman, still
will be at the forefront of "what could be a landmark negotiating
period" not only for Chrysler, but for the auto industry, Nardelli
Like other U.S. auto companies, Chrysler has been struggling to make a
profit while sales were falling and pension and retiree health costs
Chrysler made $1.8 billion in 2005 but lost $618 million in 2006 and
$1.98 billion before interest and taxes in the first quarter of this
year. DaimlerChrysler didn't report second-quarter earnings for
Chrysler because of the impending sale.
Chrysler also said Monday that following a nine-year hiatus, the
Pentastar is coming back as the corporate mark for the company. First
used as a logo in 1962, the five-pointed star is returning with a
three-dimensional update. The symbol will be used on buildings,
signage and corporate stationery.
Former Chrysler executive Wolfgang Bernhard, a senior adviser to
Cerberus, had been widely expected to be named chairman. He was
offered a position with the company but elected not to accept it.
On Friday, DaimlerChrysler AG transferred an 80.1 percent stake in
Chrysler to New York-based Cerberus Capital Management LP, one of the
world's largest private equity companies, in a $7.4 billion deal. The
German automaker, which is to be renamed Daimler AG, retained a 19.9
percent interest in Chrysler.
Cerberus Chairman John Snow previously had said Cerberus planned to
keep Chrysler's management team in place and give it the freedom to
implement its restructuring plan, which currently calls for shedding
13,000 hourly and salaried jobs in the U.S. and Canada by 2009.
Nardelli helped increase revenue and profits at Home Depot and boost
the number of stores the company operates. But he resigned from the
company after it came under intense criticism for his hefty pay and
slumping stock price. Nardelli left Home Depot with a golden parachute
worth $210 million.
Nardelli said Monday that his compensation at Chrysler would be based
on the company's performance.
Besides Nardelli and LaSorda, the 11-member Chrysler board now
includes representatives from Cerberus and DaimlerChrysler, as well as
Chrysler's chief operating officer, Eric Ridenour, decided to leave
the automaker after 23 years, Chrysler said.
Associated Press Writer David N. Goodman in Detroit contributed to