jerry york in memoriam

Jerry York has died. In 2006 he wrote  the plan “General Motors at a Fork in the Road and a Possible Solution for a Robust Resurgence.”

“Mr. York remained a critic of the Detroit auto makers and their inability to change. He called on Ford to sell off its Mercury brand, and late last year gave Chrysler a 50% chance of long-term survival despite its tie-up with Fiat SpA.” (wsj in memoriam)

We reproduce from FORTUNE:

MotorWorld by Alex Taylor III

When Jerry York shook up GM

Alex Taylor starts by remembering when he last met York 18 months ago, talking about the then-General Motors’ CEO Rick Wagoner and lead director George Fisher.

… in York’s opinion — they had used corporate trickery to sabotage a deal that he had cooked up to push GM into the Renault-Nissan alliance. Wagoner and Fisher, York declared with vehemence, were “evil men.”

Now Jerry York has died at the age of 71 after suffering a massive cerebral hemorrhage. His career in the auto industry was mostly over, but while he was active, he was a skilled player of the inside game — and a very effective one at that.

His big moment came after [Kirk] Kerkorian bought 9.9% of GM’s stock in 2006 and York joined GM’s board. At the end of June, he launched a surprising initiative. He suggested that Renault, which had scored a big success turning around Nissan, acquire a 20% stake in GM and try to repeat the trick.

York had already obtained the cooperation of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who was as attracted to the challenge of rescuing GM as York and Kerkorian were to the potential payoff. According to one analysis, the tie-up might have produced as much as $10 billion in operating profits for GM.


Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 8:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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