General Motors (NYSE: GM ) is at something of a crossroads. On the one hand, GM has come a long way since the bad old days: It has minimal debt, over $30 billion in cash, and a rapidly improving product line.
Yet big problems remain. Many of its vehicles still lag competitors. It's burning huge sums in Europe. Its margins are dwarfed by those of its biggest regional rivals – Ford (NYSE: F ) in the U.S., Volkswagen (NASDAQOTH: VLKAY ) in China.
Is GM's stock a buy, or something to avoid? I created a premium report on GM to help investors understand if GM is likely to follow Ford and return to glory – or crash and burn again under the weight of its long-standing problems.
Below is an excerpt from the report, taking a look at GM's senior management. We hope you enjoy it.
The leadership story at General Motors
CEO Dan Akerson was new to the auto business when he was appointed to GM's board following the restructuring in 2009. He became CEO in 2010, and at times – particularly early on – has appeared to struggle with the nuances of Detroit and the global auto industry.
Akerson is often said to be impatient with the pace of change at GM, and signs of frustration have occasionally become visible. He abruptly replaced GM Europe's chief earlier this year, and fired the company's chief global marketing officer after a dispute over budgets.
But Akerson is clearly a very bright, capable leader, with extensive business experience in telecom and private equity that translates, to some extent, to his role as CEO of General Motors. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former naval officer, he is said to consider the revival of GM to be a patriotic duty.
His senior team is a mix of outsiders and GM veterans, all of whom appear to be very capable. Mark Reuss, who leads GM North America; Mary Barra, GM's product-development chief; and Dan Ammann, GM's CFO, have all shown talent, creativity, and an ability to execute at a high level. All have clearly bought into Akerson's vision for GM.
Executive compensation at GM has been an issue, but not because of excess: Sharp limits imposed by the U.S. government as part of GM's bailout have kept executive salaries low — too low, some have argued, hindering GM's ability to recruit top talent. But these limitations will go away when the government sells its GM stock, and are thus unlikely to be a long-term issue.
Looking for more guidance?
That was just a sample of The Motley Fool's new premium report on GM. If you're weighing whether the company is a buy or sell, the report is an essential resource for investors seeking more information on the company. Not only that, but the report comes with updated quarterly guidance and dives into upcoming catalysts on the horizon. Just click here now to get started.