General Motors appears to be heading towards a major reorganization, numerous sources indicate, one that Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson apparently hopes will shift the maker to a more global focus – and help it eliminate the sort of “fiefdoms” that have long stymied its efforts to become more efficient and competitive.
GM has been taking a number of baby steps towards this new vision in recent months, such as a realignment of its design operations meant to focus more on individual brands than specific global regions. But the strategy has also suffered some unexpected setbacks, notably including the sudden ouster of worldwide marketing chief Joel Ewanick last month.
A reorganization could yield huge benefits if it results in a leaner and more efficient GM. And CEO Akerson is clearly under pressure to improve things at a company that suffered a major drop in earnings during the second quarter – and which has seen its stock drop by as much as 40% since its November 2010 IPO.
On the other hand, some observers caution that after years of turmoil, capped by the maker’s 2009 bankruptcy and subsequent federal bailout, GM’s leaders could trip the company into chaos if they’re not careful. The massive and largely dysfunctional 1984 reorganization is a clear example of what could go wrong.