LaSorda: Cerberus on board with Chrysler's recovery plan
Josee Valcourt / The Detroit News
DaimlerChrysler AG won't have any say in the day-to-day operations of Chrysler, despite the near 20 percent stake it's keeping in the automaker, Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda told reporters today.
He also said the company's brands would not be broken up and noted that relief from the pressure of quarterly performance reports, which aren't required of private companies, would allow management to focus on the company's long-term survival.
Speaking at Chrysler's Auburn Hills headquarters, LaSorda -- tapped by new Chrysler owners Cerberus Capital Management LP to continue leading the troubled car company -- also reiterated that no additional job cuts will be made as a result of the Cerberus transaction. Chrysler is in the midst of cutting 11,000 factory jobs in the U.S. and Canada, and is reducing its salaried work force by 2,000 by 2009.
He said health care and cost-cutting would be key topics of this summer's contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers. LaSorda said he will lead the bargaining and than Cerberus would not be involved.
The automaker's three-year turnaround plan has been fully endorsed by Cerberus, LaSorda said.
"We'll have a good financial start but we've got to deliver," he said. "This is not an endless bank."
About Cerberus founder Stephen Feinberg, LaSorda said: The American auto industry is "in his heart. It's in his blood. He drives American cars and trucks."