Photo credit: Andrew Hetherington, Bloomberg Businessweek
In an extensive interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson trumpeted the fact that he’s not an automobile enthusiast. “I’m not a car guy,” he told David Welch, “Nor should the CEO be worried about rear axle ratios on the next transmission.” Akerson may have an engineering degree but his resume shows a long career in the telecommunications industry, which unlike the auto industry sells service, not actual goods. It seems to me that while a CEO of a company needn’t necessarily know the nitty gritty engineering details of their products, like rear axle ratios, they should be conversant in the technological state of the art of their own industry. In an industry as competitive as the automobile industry, if you can’t see what’s on the horizon, by the time you see what’s coming it’s likely to be passing you by. One of the areas of automotive technology that is most competitive these days is, in fact, transmissions.