General Motors’ Akerson Wants Company To Stop Being A Dinosaur

on August 09 2012 7:24 PM
General Motors assembly workers Monique Watson and Evetta Osborne install an electric battery on the underside of a 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Michigan
General Motors assembly workers Monique Watson and Evetta Osborne install an electric battery on the underside of a 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Michigan Reuters

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson seems to think it is finally time for the company to leave the 1970s and enter the 21st century. He also implied that it was time for the nation's largest automaker to stop being a dinosaur, according to the Detroit News.

The portrait of General Motors that Akerson painted Thursday is either that of an aging baby boomer who still wants to relive his glory days, or a dinosaur facing extinction. General Motors relies on outdated IT infrastructure that is essentially a holdover from the 1970s, the Detroit News reported. "We have a 1970s IT overlay in a company that's operating in the 21st century," Akerson said. "We didn't know where all of our people were six months ago. We didn't know what they were doing."

Beyond upgrading GM's corporate computing to the 21st century, Akerson said corporate compliance documents need to be updated following leaks about the firing of marketing executive Joel Ewanick, according to the Detroit News. Akerson said the company must evolve or be the equivalent of a pair of dinosaurs trapped in Montana after the meteor struck.

Detailed metaphor aside, Akerson's statements can really be summed up by the idea that General Motors has been stuck in a past that no longer exists, and that the company must catch up with the world if it will survive. Moving General Motors into the future means continuing without a chief operating officer as GM should now be managed on a legal entity basis, Akerson said, according to the Detroit News. Having a COO would be "so 1970, it makes me want to get out my disco shoes," according to 63 year old Akerson.

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) shares rose 1.32 percent to $20.65 Thursday.