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12:20 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

GM announces second quarter earnings but mum on Ewanick

GM's second quarter profit dropped from a year ago. The company made $1.5 billion, down from $2.5 billion, largely due to losses in Europe.  

The company also took an unusual step related to damage control, after a high-profile firing at the company on Sunday.

GM departed from the industry norm and only allowed analysts, not media, to ask questions during its earnings conference call.

The company's decision to fire its top marketing chief, Joel Ewanick, has led to media reports questioning if GM is failing to stabilize its leadership ranks.

GM CEO Dan Akerson did address the matter during the call -- briefly -- saying effective leadership isn't just hiring and promoting.

"From time to time it will mean parting company with people who are not delivering expected results," Ackerson said, "or alternatively, who do not meet the highest standards for accountability and integrity."

GM issued a succinct statement on Sunday to the effect that Ewanick had failed to meet the company's expectations, but since then, the company hasn't been more specific.

Published reports point to Ewanick's poor handling of a big, and very expensive, deal with Manchester United, as well as unhappiness over the marketing chief's public dissing of the value of Facebook advertisements, days before Facebook went public.

One of GM's top design executives also left abruptly this week.  Dave Lyons was set to assume a new job at at Opel/Vauxhall in Europe.

Automobile Magazine reports Lyon was dismissed on matters of "policy and integrity."

General Motors lured Ewanick from Nissan just six weeks after he started work there.  Prior to the Nissan job, he worked for Hyundai, where he was credited with boosting the company's performance in the U.S. due to savvy marketing campaigns.