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Experts question outsider as GM chief

Experts question outsider as GM chief
General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz (UPI Photo/Natalie Behring/GM) | License Photo

DETROIT, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The owners of the restructured General Motors Co. want a Detroit outsider to lead the automaker as chief executive, but that's risky, analysts say.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has said the board is looking for an outsider to replace President and CEO Fritz Henderson, who resigned suddenly last week -- much along the lines of how outsider Alan Mulally was hired by Ford Motor Co. and succeeded in leading a turnaround there. But Ford's experience was the exception and not the rule when it comes to bringing non-automaker execs into Detroit, analysts told Sunday's Detroit News.

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"They want a clone of Mulally," an unnamed Wall Street executive told the newspaper. "But name someone else who has his experience. They can't."

They point to the example of ex-Home Depot Inc. leader Bob Nardelli, who was brought in two years ago to lead Chrysler, but who stepped down after it emerged from bankruptcy.

"Alan Mulally fit beautifully (at Ford)," David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, told the News. "I'm not sure Bob Nardelli ever fit at Chrysler. I don't think he had the background to understand the complexity of the auto industry."

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