Through all the turmoil in Detroit for the last year, there’s been one strong, articulate, well-recognized and (mostly) highly respected voice that hasn’t been heard from — that of Lee A. Iacocca, former president of Ford Motor Company and Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Corporation.
Iacocca, 84, lives quietly, almost reclusively as far as Detroit is concerned, in the Los Angeles area. Few people know that his tongue has been tied by the legal agreement between him and Chrysler resulting from the ill-fated coup that Iacocca supposedly tried to stage with big-time investor Kirk Kerkorian several years ago.
But today (June 12), he was heard from-in a full-page advertisement appearing on the last page of the Sports Section of the Detroit Free Press.
The ad, placed by the National Chrysler Retirement Organization (NCRO) and co-signed by Iacocca as honorary chair and NCRO president Chuck Austin, a retired Chrysler engineering exec, welcomes Fiat chairman Sergio Marchionne to his “new family” at the once-again new Chrysler Group, or is that new, new, new Chrysler.
Naturally, the pitch pleads that Chrysler salaried retirees not be left behind the door when the spoils from the bankruptcy are divided. The rumor is that Iacocca’s pension from Chrysler Corporation, just like for other retired executives, is threatened when bankruptcy and other Federal terms are considered.
The NCRO broadsheet ad also offers “assistance as advisors in any capacity that you might require.” It points out that the 19,000 Chrysler salaried retiree families represent “more than a quarter-million years of collective experience in all areas of the company.”
“As a first step, we would be willing to meet with the Chrysler human resources team to determine where help is needed and to identify historically top-producing volunteers to assist you,” the statement concludes.
Welcome back, Lee. It’s good to hear from you again.