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Icons, Idiots — and Bob Lutz

An enjoyable, one-way conversation, says our book reviewer.

by on Jul.03, 2013

Bob Lutz describes some of the most memorable leaders he's works with in a 60-year career.

How many current or former auto executives have the experience, talent, charisma — much less the cojones — to write an entertaining, informative book about one’s bosses and inspirational leaders? There’s only one and, you’re right, it’s Bob Lutz.  Okay, so he’s an octogenarian – but he is not over the hill – far from it. He is sharper, clearer and more focused than some of today’s wannabe CEOs and COOs.

Lutz’s multi-decade experience covers the best of times and worst of times in the contemporary auto history from the sixties through GM’s 2009 bankruptcy.  Along the way he made history and rewrote some, made some good decisions, some not-so-good, had c-suite executive positions with major auto brands in Europe and America – and at every milestone along the way in an enviable career he’s worked for and been inspired by some very unique leaders and characters.

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Icons and Idiots, his just published review of the eleven leaders and inspirational forces that shaped and molded his business career and life is an interesting read. I’d turned the pages in his previous book, Auto Guys and Bean Counters, but found it less readable because of the ‘here’s what went wrong and why” focus. The new work from the ultimate car guy is analogous to having a private conversation with him after a good dinner, some excellent wine and maybe a Cohiba.


He’s Baaack! Bob Lutz Returns to GM as Advisor

Maximum Bob will rejoin maker in part-time capacity.

by on Sep.02, 2011

Maximum Bob reporting for duty.

Old soldiers don’t die, and in the case of Capt. Robert A. Lutz, USMC-Ret., they don’t even fade away.

“Maximum Bob,” as many have come to call him, will be rejoining General Motors as a part-time consultant and those who know him say that despite his 79 years of age, the outspoken executive is planning on a long stay.

Until early in 2010 GM’s vice chairman and “car czar,” Lutz has spent more than 40 years in the auto industry working with a whos-who of automakers, the list including not only GM but Ford, Chrysler and BMW.  He also had a brief stint as chairman of battery maker Exide and, after being nudged into a semi-retirement by former GM Chairman Ed Whitacre, Lutz has served on a variety of boards, including British automaker Lotus, while also penning his second book, “Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business.”

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In a terse release, GM noted, “Lutz will be available to executives on a part-time consultancy basis effective immediately. He brings a wealth of experience built over the course of more than 40 years in the industry, including two stints at GM.”

The first began in 1963, shortly after he left the Marine Corps., where he served as a pilot – beginning a life-long addition to flying that he nourishes today with a small personal fleet of jets and helicopters.