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GM Reassigns CFO to International Operations

Ray Young remains with automaker’s new management team.

by on Dec.14, 2009

In an unexpected move, Ray Young will relinquish the GM CFO title but stay on as International Operations Vice President.

In an unexpected move, Ray Young will relinquish the GM CFO title but stay on as International Operations Vice President.

Long expected to leave the automaker after helping guide it through its brush with bankruptcy, Chief Financial Office Ray Young will instead stay on as part of General Motors new management team.  But the Chinese-born CFO will now head over to GM’s critical International Operations.

A new CFO is expected to be brought on board within the next few weeks, according to a broad hint by Chairman and Acting Chief Executive Ed Whitacre, Jr.  As IO’s new Vice President, Young will now focus his talents on managing the international units finances, along with other duties that will be “clarified in the near-term,” according to a GM news release.

Your Breaking News Source!

Your Breaking News Source!

The 47-year-old executive took on the CFO role in March 2008, replacing Fritz Henderson, himself a veteran from GM’s International Operations.  Henderson went on to become Chief Executive Officer, in March of this year, replacing Rick Wagoner, who was ousted by the White House “auto czar.”  (Henderson was himself fired, last month.)  Young helped manage the tricky finances of a Chapter 11 filing but, shortly after GM emerged from bankruptcy, in July, it was announced that the executive would be leaving his post.

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Ray Young: Another GM Casualty?

CFO could be next to go as maker pairs exec ranks.

by on Sep.09, 2009

Will GM's 47-year-old CFO Ray Young be the next to go in a top management shake-up?

Will GM's 47-year-old CFO Ray Young be the next to go in a top management shake-up?

The downsizing of General Motors’ executive ranks continues, with numerous sources suggesting that the automaker’s Chief Financial Officer Ray Young will be among the next to go, as part of a shake-up in the corporate finance department.

Rumors have been circulating ever since the carmaker plunged into bankruptcy, earlier this year.  Adding fuel to that fire, GM CEO Fritz Henderson’s announcement on July 10th, the day the company emerged from Chapter 11, that a third of all senior executives would be let go by the end of October.

Shake Up Your News Sources!

Shake Up Your News Sources!

So far, a wide range of once-prominent GM bosses have been packing up their corner offices, including Troy Clarke, formerly president of GM North America, while others, such as Gary Cowger, head of manufacturing, plans to retire by year’s end.  So, few insiders would be surprised to see Young join them on the way out of GM’s  Renaissance Center headquarters.

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Q&A: General Motors CFO Ray Young

Full transparency from GM's numbers man.

by on Jun.09, 2009

GM CFO Ray Young huddles with former Chairman Rick Wagoner during a Washington hearing called to discuss the automaker's request for a federal bailout.

GM CFO Ray Young huddles with former Chairman Rick Wagoner during a Washington hearing called to discuss the automaker's request for a federal bailout.

Call it trial by fire. Last year, as General Motors began the meltdown that ultimately led to its bankruptcy filing, last week, senior company officials frequently sat down with reporters to outline the latest cutbacks in jobs and production. There were the familiar faces, like former CEO Rick Wagoner, as well as the man who replaced him, in March, Fritz Henderson. But less familiar was Ray Young, the traditionally soft-spoken veteran who was appointed Chief Financial Officer, in March 2008.

It was clearly not a great time to be counting the beans at the fast-failing automaker, but it puts Young in a key strategic position, now that GM is shedding billions of debt, half of its North American brands and more than a third of its dealers under a court-managed restructuring largely crafted under the heavy hand of the Obama Administration.

A 23-year GM employee, Young was born in Guangzhou, China, emigrating to Canada as a youngster.  After earning an MBA at the University of Chicago, in 1986, he signed on with GM and has followed an increasingly familiar career path that included the GM Treasurer’s office, in New York, and several stints overseas. Young spoke with TheDetroitBureau’s Paul A. Eisenstein about opening GM’s books to its shareholders – the American taxpayer – the lessons learned in bankruptcy, and the threat of a GM boycott by the right wing.

TDB: When the White House forced out CEO Rick Wagoner, in March, there seemed to be a change in attitude by GM towards accepting a bankruptcy.  Is this accurate?

Young: It’s hard to say when it became more evident. Time worked against us. The Obama Administration set some pretty tough targets. In March, $26 billion worth of debt had to be converted into equity.  If you recall the original, December 31st agreement, Treasury had called for a two-third reduction.  When President Obama increased that to 90%, that increased the risk that bankruptcy would have to be the tool to reach those objectives.  So, March 30th, the stakes got raised.  Without being able to restructure the unsecured debt, we would not be able to restructure outside bankruptcy. (more…)

GM Reverses Course on Financial Reporting

Automaker will release numbers even before its planned IPO.

by on Jun.04, 2009

General Motors has reversed course and now says it will release financial data when it emerges from bankruptcy as a privately-held company.

General Motors has reversed course and now says it will release financial data when it emerges from bankruptcy as a privately-held company.

General Motors officials beat a hasty retreat on comments made by Chief Financial Officer Ray Young the day after the automaker filed for bankruptcy, early this week, saying they intend to be “transparent” when it comes to the corporation’s financial results.

During a Monday news conference detailing the bankruptcy filing, GM Chief Executive Office Fritz Henderson pointedly promised to maintain a high degree of transparency, in light of the interest in the company’s promised turnaround – and the $50 billion in public funds that were being invested in that effort.  But a day later, CFO Young seemed to belie that, warning that when it emerged from its Chapter 11 filing, GM would offer no more data to the public than any other privately-held company.

“As a privately held corporation,” he said, “We’ll probably not disclose (financial) information except to the shareholders,” a group that happens to include American taxpayers, who, through the U.S. Treasury Dept. will initially hold a 60% stake in the “new” GM, with the rest divided up among a union health care fund, former bondholders, and both the Canadian and Ontario governments.

Young’s comments triggered a flurry of angry criticism, much of it pointing to the fact that the public, in fact, makes up the largest group of shareholders, and thus it would be common sense, if not an outright requirement, to issue financial updates.

The automaker now says that will happen, issuing a statement that, “New GM intends to make regular disclosures during the period it is private in order to provide appropriate information regarding our financial conditions.” (more…)