One of the pleasures of Detroit, where I am for the annual auto show, is that, despite the intense upheaval and distress in the industry over the past year, some things remain resolutely the same.
It is snowing outside the Cobo Centre, where the North American International Auto Show (its unwieldy title) is held, the people are still friendly, the best place to get a coffee remains the Mercedes-Benz stand (where I am writing this) and Bob Lutz of GM is as outspoken as ever.
As 78-year-old Mr Lutz, the Detroit veteran whose role at GM appears to have been somewhat curtailed in the new dispensation of Ed Whitacre, told the Society of Automotive Analysts on Sunday night, when asked about his future:
“I have never actually been dismissed so that would be a new experience . . . If the GM board will tolerate my occasional outrageousness I plan to be around for some time.”
The New York Times carried an interesting piece on Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, this weekend but the article would probably be fading into the news cycle by now except for the astounding quote from Matthew Freud, the British public relations executive.
Mr Freud, who is married to Elisabeth Murdoch and is an adviser to James Murdoch, is extremely well-placed to reflect the Murdoch children’s view of Mr Ailes. Being head of a public relations firm, he also knows how to say what he means.
This is what he said:
“I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to.”
That is a statement to be savoured indeed. Not only is Mr Freud contemptuous of Fox News and Mr Ailes but he is “by no means alone within the family” in those views. Read more