Big Three CEO’s you stink at Public Relations

I was reading the NY Times (the real paper one) and GM had a full page advertisement on what they were doing to turn around their business and why they should receive a part of the TARP bailout.

All I could think of is the stories that are being circulated in the news media that each one of these CEO’s flew to Washington on their private jets to present at the Senate Sub-commitee for the bailout money.

What are you guys thinking!

Didn’t you or someone on your staff think this out? In your defense it may have made all the sense in the world. Lets face it your companies are in dire need of help and the more time you spend on the problems of your companies versus standing with the rest of us schleps in airport security lines may have made financial sense. You may have flown in a team of executive who made that trip via private jet cost effective.

But for the love of God did you think of the repercussions this would have when it came to your image; and the perception that you are trying to portray to the American people and other stakeholders who are trying to support you in this bailout.

Lets look back in history at the last bailout of an auto company in the US. (At around the same time Britain and Margaret Thatcher bailed out British Leland which in retrospect was an unmitigated disaster). Chrysler was bailed out by you and me (the taxpayers) back in the early 80’s. Lee Iacocca and the rest of the Chrysler executives knew a lot about the value of symbolism and a positive perception.

To put it bluntly, they were PR geniuses. Lee took a salary of a dollar. Presented a succinct and logical plan for Chrysler to exit their financial malaise. Lee went on TV and other media pitching the plan, his cars and why he was the man to lead this charge!  Man that guy knew how to spin it!

Guess what Chrysler, lived up to its obligations and paid back the US taxpayer all the money they were given before it was due.  Lee did what very few executives do in this day and age.  He under promised and over delivered.

Did Lee quietly have his CFO wire the money to the treasury. No way Jose!!  He personally delivered a huge check to the treasury in Washington ala Publishers Clearing house with Ed McMahon.

Talk about symbolism!! Lee your the man!!

So here is the advice I would give the master spinmeisters at the big three.

Fly coach, come up with a realistic plan to get yourself out of this mess, cut your salaries and be very aware of the perceptions you are portraying in the media.

Peace out

They are starting to listen!  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123058397854440471.html

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Comments

  1. Nice site you have!

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