Special Coverage

Management Briefing Seminars

Youthful Exuberance

Time marches on, and attendees at the Management Briefing Seminars take note.

Says John Krafcik, Hyundai America vice president-product development and strategic planning: “We’re a young brand. We just came of drinking age in the U.S.”

Veteran industry observer and MBS host David Cole adds: “Anyone young here? I’ll make a deal with you – 10 years of age for 10 years of wisdom. Just meet me outside.”

Mulally the Marketer

Ever the salesman, Ford CEO Alan Mulally sees a potential customer in David Cole.

“Have you driven a Ford lately?” he asks the Center for Automotive Research chairman. “Just let me know if you need a friends-and-family rate.”

Cole gets a chance for a comeback later.

During his conference appearance, Mulally spoke without notes and stood next to the podium, not behind it. Afterwards, Cole quips to Mulally, “Gee, a CEO without a script. Don’t you have lawyers anymore?”

Industry Redlining

Conference attendees today expressed amazement at how quickly Detroit’s Big Three are restructuring.

David Cole describes it as “the most unbelievable change process in the history of the industry.”

Chip McClure, chairman, CEO and president of ArvinMeritor, agrees. “I’ve never witnessed this much turmoil, especially on so many fronts at one time.”

Adds Sean McAlinden, chief economist and vice president of research at the Center for Automotive Research: “It’s the largest and fastest restructuring in automotive history.”

Et Tu, Kronos?

Of the 25 exhibitors in the hallways at Grand Traverse Resort, where MBS is being held this week, Kronos might be the least known.

“We are the second most-successful software company after Microsoft,” says Matt Hoak.

But only four people in three days have stopped by and recognized the company’s name. Kronos software is used for workforce management, from tracking workers’ time to leveraging workers’ schedules to meeting fluctuating production demands.

Perhaps it should add marketing to the list.