Posted tagged ‘Alan Mulally’

What Happens in Vegas…

February 2, 2011

As we turn the calendar from one year to another, what does it make you think about? New Year’s Resolutions? Back-To-School? The Super Bowl?

Well, if you’re like me and employed in the world of tech PR, it means one thing…the annual “Super Bowl” of consumer electronics events, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

If you’ve ever attended CES then you know that the show has grown exponentially since its early days. There’s nothing quite like getting more than 140,000+ of your closest friends together in Las Vegas for 4 days of the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos from some of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world. Each year, months of hype lead up to the show. Who’s going to be there? What are they going to be demonstrating? What’s the big, new “it” product? And this year was no different.

Quite a few major technology trends emerged from this year’s show floor that are sure to keep me busy throughout 2011. Some of the significant topics of discussion included the launch of dozens of new tablet devices, wireless 4G LTE and enhanced connected television technologies.

And if you thought that CES had lost its luster and prestige…think again! Last year was a major down year in terms of attendance for CES. But, it was the large crowd at this year’s show that caught the attention of many in the media:

“I must’ve gotten the following question fifty times in the past few days: what’s the coolest thing you saw at CES? Every time, I’ve given the same answer: the crowd…It’s what the size of the 2011 CES signifies about the consumer electronics industry, and about the cultural centrality of a set of devices and issues that used to be the sole province of geeks.” Jon Stokes, Ars Technica

“CES 2011 is back to normal. It was packed with vendors and attendees. The overall tone was extremely up beat… It was fun to walk the floor and see what was on display.” Bill Wong, Electronic Design

There was no shortage of big names at CES. Amongst those speaking in Las Vegas this year were Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Rupert Stadler of AUDI AG, Boo-Keun Yoon of Samsung, Alan Mulally of Ford and Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon. Each gave a Keynote presentation and Mulally used his presentation to unveil the company’s first electric vehicle, the Ford Focus Electric. Did you miss any of the Keynote presentations? Don’t worry…in this day and age you can easily go back and watch all of them online on the CES website anytime you like.

We talked trends coming out of the show earlier, and in 2011, there was no shortage of hot button topics that everyone wanted to talk about. Here’s what members of the media had to say about what they saw on the show floor:

“From the very first press conference, the main theme from the show emerged: your next smartphone will likely connect to a 4G network. For business use, 4G on your smartphone or tablet means easier Internet back-ups, smooth video chats, and snappier Web viewing.” John Brandon, Inc. Magazine

“This year, the show was all about Android. We ushered in the era of dual-core Androids with LG and Motorola, we celebrated the 4G revolution with LG, Motorola, and Samsung, and we even got a glimpse at how Android works when screen resolution is bumped beyond the all-too-common WVGA, thanks to Motorola. Oh, and a little thing called Android 3.0 Honeycomb is going to transform the way we think about not only tablets, but smartphones too.” Brandon Miniman, PocketNow.com

Larger crowds, 4G and gadgets galore! These were some of the highlights of CES this year. I think we can safely say that the recession appears to be over and if CES is any barometer for the state of the industry, then we’re in for a big 2011!

Did you go to CES this year? What was your biggest takeaway? What was your most memorable moment (at the event…not in Vegas)?

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Ford Says CEO Will Work for $1

December 2, 2008

And he will be giving me the rest of his salary 🙂 I can dream, right?

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally said he’ll work for $1 per year if the automaker has to take any government loan money.

From the Associated Press:

The plan Ford is presenting to Congress this week also says it will cancel all management employees’ 2009 bonuses and will not pay any merit increases for its North American salaried employees next year.

Other cost-cutting actions include a plan to sell Ford’s five corporate aircraft, the company said.

Mulally said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that Ford will emphasize its cost cutting efforts with the United Auto Workers union and will give much more detail to Congress than it did when lawmakers grilled the automakers’ CEOs earlier this month.

The company said it also will accelerate plans to roll out electric vehicles as part of the plan it will present to Congress this week. The vehicles will come out starting in 2010 and include the Transit Connect small van and a car the size of the Ford Focus compact.

Mulally says Ford will seek $9 billion in government loans but may not need them. The Dearborn-based has said it has enough cash to make it through 2009 without assistance.

All three Detroit automakers are scheduled to appear before congressional committees Thursday and Friday to seek a total of $25 billion in government loans. Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. have said they are perilously low on cash and need the government loans to survive the recession and the worst auto sales environment in 25 years.

Mulally also said he will encourage other automakers to join forces to develop new battery technologies in the U.S. for future electric cars.

An electric car and profitability are hallmarks of a plan Ford submitted to Congress Tuesday.

Ford’s plans call for an investment of up to $14 billion to improve fuel efficiency over the next seven years. The company said would improve the overall efficiency of its fleet by an average of 14 percent in 2009.

The company’s plans to achieve profitability or break even by 2011 are based on industrywide sales estimates of 12.5 million units in 2009, 14.5 million in 2010 and 15.5 million in 2011.

Ford Motor Company Considers Selling Volvo

December 1, 2008

Ford Motor Company is considering selling Volvo Car Corp. as the struggling U.S. automaker seeks to raise cash and weather a global automotive sales crisis.

From the Associated Press:

Ford said Monday it expects its strategic review of the Swedish luxury automaker will take several months. The move is one of several actions Ford is taking to strengthen its balance sheet amid what it called “severe economic instability worldwide.”

“Given the unprecedented external challenges facing Ford and the entire industry, it is prudent for Ford to evaluate options for Volvo as we implement our One Ford plan,” said company president and CEO Alan Mulally in written statement, referring to a plan the standardize the company globally.

Ford officials would not speculate on how a potential sale would affect the companies. Spinning off Volvo into a separate may be a possibility, as both companies have already taken steps to allow Volvo to operate on a more standalone basis. That effort began in 2007, after a previous strategic review of Volvo.

Automotive Executives to Carpool to Next Hearing?

November 24, 2008

That might be a good idea! After being ridiculed by Congress and made fun of on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” the CEOs of Detroit’s big three automakers may end up making their return trip to Washington by car as they seek a federal bailout.

From the Associated Press:

The Detroit area’s auto industry, whose livelihood depends on the health of Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. spent the weekend e-mailing and discussing how to set up a giant car caravan to seek help from Congress.

What’s for certain is GM CEO Rick Wagoner won’t be going to Washington by corporate jet, although the company’s policy is not to comment on executive travel plans for security reasons, said spokesman Tony Cervone. A Chrysler spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on executive travel plans, and a message was left for a Ford spokesman.

The carpool idea came out of meetings on Friday at Dura Automotive Systems Inc., an auto parts maker in suburban Rochester Hills. President and CEO Tim Leuliette said that during the weekend they contacted the automakers, suppliers, dealership groups and the United Auto Workers and the movement began building.

“The proper people are talking to the proper people, and things are getting put together,” said Leuliette. “This really picked up momentum over the weekend.”

Industry representatives want Congress to see not just three CEOs in suits during the hearings, but the many people dependent on the automakers for their livelihoods, Leuliette said.

“Quite honestly, this is about America,” he said. “This is a process of people’s lives being affected, and sometimes they don’t know how to put a voice to those concerns.”

The movement comes after last week’s disastrous hearings in front of two Congressional committees. Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Chrysler LLC CEO Robert Nardelli and GM’s Wagoner traveled to Washington on separate corporate jets to seek $25 billion in government loans to help them make it through the worst U.S. auto sales downturn in 25 years.

Congress, though, abandoned a vote on the bailout after the appearances in which the automakers were criticized for lavish corporate travel, as well as for having poor business plans and high labor costs that some members said would keep them from being competitive with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

Auto Industry CEOs Flew Private Jets to Ask for Bailout Money

November 20, 2008

Lawmakers are lashing out at the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler today for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money. Seriously. Do executives even think before they do things? It’s like calling the kettle black. And you think you deserve the money?

From CNN:

“There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they’re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses,” Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

“It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious.”

He added, “couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it.”

The executives — Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of GM — were seeking support for a $25 billion loan package. Later Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reversed plans to hold a test vote on the measure.

An aide told CNN that Reid decided to cancel the test vote when it became clear the measure would fall well short of the 60 votes needed. Reid did, however, make a procedural move that could allow a vote on a compromise, which several senators from auto-producing states were feverishly trying to craft.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, pressed the private-jet issue, asking the three CEOs to “raise their hand if they flew here commercial.”

“Let the record show, no hands went up,” Sherman said. “Second, I’m going to ask you to raise your hand if you are planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show, no hands went up.”

The executives did not specifically respond to those remarks. In their testimony, they said they are streamlining business operations in general.

Auto Makers Leave Congress Empty-Handed

November 20, 2008

Lawmakers deadlocked on a plan to bail out the Big Three automakers, leaving General Motors facing the prospect it could run out of cash before a new Congress can come to the rescue next year.

From Bloomberg:

Democratic congressional leaders disagreed with Republicans and President George W. Bush’s administration over how to provide $25 billion in aid to GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. Only two days remain in a lame-duck session for lawmakers to resurrect a compromise, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today Congress might return in December to complete its work.

“We are in a situation where we don’t know procedurally what we are going to be able to accomplish today,” the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor.

Reid earlier suggested the situation was dire and refused to set aside time today to debate a compromise proposed by Senator Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican. Reid said Bond’s plan hasn’t been put in writing and the House of Representatives is about to adjourn.

Bond and fellow Republican George Voinovich of Ohio insisted they weren’t giving up on their proposal to speed up and broaden access to $25 billion already approved for fuel-efficient vehicle development that was a compromise.

Ford Motor Company Reports Huge Losses…Will Cut Jobs

November 7, 2008

The Ford Motor Company reported a $3 billion quarterly operating loss this morning and said it would reduce its staff and capital spending in order to preserve its dwindling cash.

From CNN Money:

Ford said it would cut salaried employment costs by 10% – reducing compensation of its white collar workers by eliminating merit pay, bonuses and the company’s matching contributions to their retirement accounts.

But even with those savings, the company said it’s likely to lay off more salaried staffers. It also said hourly staff – mostly factory workers covered by union contracts – would be reduced by an additional 2,600 through a voluntary buyout package.

The company, which earlier this year sold brands such as Jaguar and Land Rover, said it would continue to look to sell assets.

Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally warned that while the company is confident that it is taking the right steps to respond to the downturn, it does not see a quick turnaround in demand for autos in either North America or Europe.

“We believe the downturn in industry volume will be broader, deeper and longer than previously expected,” he said during a conference call. Sales volume isn’t expected to improve until 2010, he said.

Ford’s loss came to $1.31 a share, excluding special items, far worse than the penny a share loss it reported on that basis a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by earnings tracker Thomson Reuters had forecast a loss of 93 cents a share.

The company had a one-time gain of $2.2 billion, related to the accounting of its retiree health care expenses. With that gain, it reported a net loss of $129 million, or 6 cents a share, an improvement from the $380 million, or 19 cents a share, it lost on that basis a year earlier.