Ammann Testament to General Motor’s New Culture
General Motors chief financial officer, New Zealander Daniel Ammann, talks with The Detroit News editorial board about how the automaker’s goal is consistent profitability in a cyclical industry. After a historic bailout and Washington-managed bankruptcy, General Motors has been reborn as a moneymaker with low debt overhead, good cash flow, a portfolio of fresh products and best-selling vehicles in the world’s fastest-growing car market, China. Now comes the hard part: The new GM must translate its success into long-term, consistent profitability.
Ammann said the General has learned its lessons and is a lean, mean fighting machine retooled for battle in the global market. “We have to have a very strong financial foundation to the company. We all understand what happened in the past and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Ammann, a New Zealand-born 41-year-old who is a testament to GM’s new culture. An 11-year veteran of Morgan Stanley brought on board three years ago, Amman is a Nurburgring-test track licensed motor-head who defies the inbred GM financial culture that design guru Bob Lutz once derided as having “bean counter-itis.” Riding a product revolution that was in the pipeline before the company’s 2009 cash crisis, GM is rolling out its most diverse lineup in recent memory – from snappy compacts to sexy Cadillac luxury sedans to its bread-and-butter work trucks.