Every time a prominent businessman or politician resigns to "spend more time with his family", I think of the economist colleague who pithily completed that sentence:
I want to spend more time with my family complaining about getting fired.
This Facebook note on Fritz Henderson's abrupt resignation, allegedly by Henderson's daughter, really drives it home:
HE F*****G GOT ASKED TO STEP DOWN ALL OF YOU F*****G IDIOTS. I'M FRITZ'S F*****G DAUGHTER, AND HE DID NOT F*****G RESIGN. WHITACRE IS A SELFISH PIECE OF SHIFT [sic], WHO CARES ABOUT HIMSELF AND NOT THE F*****G COMPANY. HAVE FUN WITH GM, I HOPE TO NEVER BUY FROM THIS GOD FORESAKEN [sic] COMPANY EVERY [sic] AGAIN. F**K ALL OF YOU."
I roughly concur with The Truth About Cars on the ouster. For a former telecoms executive, Ed Whiteacre shows a surprisingly poor understanding of how to handle public announcements like this. But Henderson had to go, because the government wants an IPO, and he wasn't going to get the company there. On the other hand, GM's management strategy right now looks uncomfortably like the policy outlined by one character in Robert Heinlein's Friday:
If the horse can't make the jump, shoot the horse. Continue until one of the horses makes it, or you run out of horses.
Henderson's strategic vision appears to have been rather muddled. But it's not clear to me where they're going to get this impressive outside talent they want to sweep in and save GM from itself, given the pay restrictions that Treasury is imposing on the company. Treasury's line is that they're allowed to sweeten the deal with significant stock grants. This seems sort of like trying to entice volunteers for a suicide mission by offering a lavish deferred compensation package.