GM executives hosted 200 some-odd invited guests at the company’s Warren Tech Center yesterday, for a presentation on its plans to continue to grow and make money after its upcoming IPO. The executives made no particular mention of the IPO at the meeting, attended mostly by bankers and financial analysts.
Many left the meeting feeling encouraged about the future of the company, specifically its clear product plan which targets growth in the emerging markets. CFO Chris Liddell’s straight-forward presentation also went a long way to quell concerns. “You always like to have a sense there is a firm hand on the tiller. When you look back on past GM CFOs, that often wasn’t the impression,” Maryann Keller, an auto analyst and head of Maryann Keller & Associates in Stamford, Connecticut said. “They were glib. Even when the world was coming to an end, they never admitted it.”
The meeting also gave analysts and Wall Street insiders a chance to size up three GM executives in new and crucial roles: Liddell; Vice Chairman of Global Product Operations Tom Stephens; and GM North American President Mark Reuss.
“Those are the three really key guys who are going to drive revenue and the bottom line,” said auto analyst Joe Phillippi of Auto Trends Consulting in Short Hills, N.J. Liddel especially has a huge task before him; his goal is to increase GM’s $30 billion in cash, fully fund its pension obligations, and slash all remaining debt. The company’s pension plans cover about 650,000 people and are currently underfunded by $13.6 billion.
Despite all of the positive signs, GM’s market share remains a little flat, and will undoubtedly have to be addressed. “The message we all need to understand is the next 10 years will be tougher than the last 10,” Vice Chairman Steve Girsky said. “And the last 10 were pretty tough.”
-By: Stephen Calogera
Source: Detroit News