Chief Executive Officer Steve Burns resigned from his position as CEO and board member, and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez resigned from his post, according to a company press release. Both are effective immediately.
The company appointed Lead Independent Director Angela Strand as the executive chairwoman to oversee the CEO transition until a permanent leader is identified, the company said. Becky Roof will serve as the interim Chief Financial Officer.
“As we transition to the commercial stage of our business – with planned commencement of limited production in late-September – we have to put in place a seasoned management team with deep experience leading and operating publicly-listed OEM companies,” the company said in its release.
Shares of the Lordstown, Ohio-based electric vehicle startup fell below $10 Thursday, meaning the stock has lost about half its value so far this year.
In 2019, the company purchased a former General Motors plant in Ohio to start producing the Endurance electric pickup this fall. But last week, the company told shareholders it might not have enough cash to start commercial production of its pickup this year, and it had “sufficient doubts” as to whether it would be able to meet its financial obligations.
Of business models, of workforces, of organizations themselves. Insider’s inaugural list of the Most Transformative CEOs celebrates the four executives who are best meeting the needs of their many stakeholders. They do not merely protect the bottom line. They also devise strategies to respond to changing markets, tackle the climate crisis, and serve as stewards for the well-being of their employees – and the world.
Insider is proud to announce this first class:
Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors
Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer
Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia
Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe
Insider arrived at this list by way of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. We considered the 100 CEOs of the largest publicly traded US companies by market capitalization on the S&P 500 who have been in their positions since at least January 2019. We ruled out executives who are on their way to stepping down, including Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck.
We evaluated companies and CEOs across measures of recent financial performance, ratings on employee review sites Comparably and Glassdoor, typical employee compensation and the CEO-to-median-pay ratio, and the 2021 Just Capital ranking of companies’ commitment to social responsibility.
To choose the CEOs we wanted to feature, we considered the above metrics, as well as a qualitative sense of leaders guiding their firms through a historically difficult year. We believe these CEOs exemplify the traits and achievements needed to survive and thrive in that challenging environment.
Keep scrolling to learn more about what makes each CEO on Insider’s list deserving of the title of Most Transformative CEO.
MARY BARRA, the CEO of General Motors
Without doubt, the most successful CEO in GM’s recent four or five decades. Bob Lutz, a former GM vice chairman
What they’ve done on the vaccine is remarkable. How quickly they’ve developed it, and now getting it out, especially in the US, is incredible. Vamil Divan, a senior biopharmaceuticals research analyst at Mizuho
His ability to connect dots across different parts of the business, across different market trends, and then very succinctly distill the key decisions that need to be made is something I marvel at. Amit Ahuja, Adobe’s VP of Experience Cloud
Ford has teased hands-free driving capability for a while, and on Wednesday revealed the first details about its system, including the name: BlueCruise.
The software will enable drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and let the car do most of the work on more than 100,000 miles of North American highways, Ford said. Certain 2021 F-150 trucks and Mustang Mach-E crossovers can gain access to BlueCruise later in 2021 through an over-the-air software update.
BlueCruise builds on Ford’s existing driver-assistance suite, using radar sensors and cameras to keep a car in its lane, maintain a safe distance from other cars, and read speed limit signs. Drivers can switch on the system when they enter so-called “Hands-Free Blue Zones,” and the system lets drivers know when they’re on a qualifying road through blue lighting on the instrument cluster.
Like Tesla’s Autopilot and General Motors’ Super Cruise, BlueCruise is an SAE Level 2 driver-assistance system that isn’t fully autonomous and requires full driver attention. A driver-facing camera mounted above the steering wheel monitors a driver’s head position and eyes to ensure they’re paying attention to the road, similar to Super Cruise. Tesla, on the other hand, requires drivers to place a hand on the steering wheel rather than monitoring their gaze.
Tesla, despite facing mounting scrutiny over Autopilot’s branding and its role in several recent car crashes, is one of the top companies to beat when it comes to driver-assist technology, and Ford acknowledges that. Ford on Wednesday said BlueCruise is “similar to Tesla Autopilot but with the advantage of offering a true hands-free driving experience.”
In a Wednesday tweet announcing BlueCruise, Ford CEO Jim Farley took a dig at Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software, a successor to Autopilot that the firm is beta testing using thousands of its own customers on public roads.
“BlueCruise! We tested it in the real world, so our customers don’t have to,” Farley said.
Ford said its engineers have completed more than 500,000 miles of testing using BlueCruise, including 110,000 miles during a road trip that took 10 vehicles across 37 US states and five Canadian provinces.
BlueCruise comes standard on the Mustang Mach-E CA Route 1, Premium, and First Edition models. It’s available as an option on the Select trim for buyers who spend $2,600 on a “Comfort and Technology” package along with $600 on a three-year subscription to the system.
For most F-150s, BlueCruise will cost $995 for the underlying tech package, along with the $600 software fee.
At some point down the line, Ford plans to add more advanced capabilities like automated lane changes. It also aims to regularly update the system with thousands of additional miles of compatible roads.
General Motors has teased for months that its upcoming electric pickup truck, the GMC Hummer EV, would gain an SUV stablemate at some point down the line. Now it’s finally here.
GMC offered the first real glimpse of the 2024 Hummer EV SUV on Saturday in a commercial that aired during the NCAA Final Four. The so-called “supertruck” is available to reserve now, and the first models will hit streets in early 2023, GMC said.
Like its pickup sibling that debuted in October, the Hummer EV SUV comes packed with features targeted at off-roading. Saturday’s LeBron James-narrated spot highlighted capabilities like “extract mode,” which lifts the vehicle by several inches at the push of a button, and “crab walk,” which turns all four wheels so the SUV can drive diagonally.
The Hummer EV SUV debuts with a roughly $106,000 “Edition 1” model that will be available in early 2023, and an available off-road package brings the Edition 1’s MSRP to just over $110,000. The Edition 1 will deliver up to 830 horsepower and a range of at least 300 miles, GMC said.
As with the pickup version, GMC plans to sell a series of more affordable Hummer SUV models following the Edition 1’s launch.
The EV2x and EV3x versions, which will cost $90,000 and $100,000, respectively, will hit the market in spring 2023. A base-model EV2 version will sell for $80,000 starting in 2024, offering at least 250 miles of range and up to 625 horsepower, GMC said.
Those high price tags mean that despite its promises of off-road capability, the Hummer EV SUV is more likely to steal shoppers away from a high-end Mercedes G-Wagen or Range Rover than from a rugged Jeep Wrangler.
GMC said it will release additional information about the new model on Monday.
GM shuttered the Hummer brand in 2010 amid rising gas prices and a global recession, but it’s given the gas-guzzling nameplate an unexpected second life as a brand for upscale, off-roadable, zero-emission vehicles. Hummer’s resurrection comes as part of GM’s larger electrification push.
The Detroit automaker announced in January that it won’t sell any gas-powered vehicles after 2035. In November, it said it will commit $27 billion toward the development of electric and autonomous vehicles.
A global shortage of computer chips has caused shutdowns at several automotive manufacturing plants – and car dealerships are already reflecting the shortage.
Car shoppers can expect to see an impact in the availability of certain car models due to the chip shortage, as well as a price increase, according to Cars.com executive editor Joe Wiesenfelder. Dealerships may also be less likely to offer deals as supplies dwindle.
“Consumers in the market of considering buying a car should shop now because choices and prices could worsen over the next two quarters,” Wiesenfelder told Insider.
Car companies began halting production at manufacturing plants in North America in the beginning of January.
Semiconductor chips have become an essential part of the manufacturing process for vehicles. The chips are used in navigation, bluetooth, and collision-detection systems and account for about 40% of a new car’s cost, according to a report from Deloitte.
The lack of chips has forced automakers to prioritize production of their higher-priced and more-profitable models.
Here are some of the models Cars.com said may see price increases or limited availability.
Toyota has already started increasing prices
The Toyota Tundra was one of the first cars to see a halt in production.
Cars.com said the Tundra has seen a drop in inventory of almost 27% for the month of February. Some Toyota models have already demonstrated price increases, including the Tacoma, which has gone up about $584 or 1.6%, despite only a 4% decrease in inventory, according to Cars.com.
Many Japanese carmakers are seeing an impact. Honda was one of the first car companies to warn of computer chip shortages, according to Bloomberg.
The Japanese carmaker has slashed production at several major manufacturing plants. In particular, shoppers can expect to see some pressure on the Honda Accord, Civic, Insight, and Odyssey, as well as the Acura RDX.
Nissan has had to adjust production in both Japan and North America. A spokesperson told Insider the company is continuing to assess the long-term impact of the chip shortage. For now, the models that have seen slowdowns for the carmaker include the Nissan Altima, Frontier, and Titan.
In February, Subaru reported it planned to cut its production plan for 2021 by about 58,000 cars. The models impacted by the cut include the Subaru Ascent, Impreza, Legacy, and Outback.
Ford and General Motors expect to lose billions of dollars
Ford began slowing down production at its plant in Louisville in January. During Ford’s fourth-quarter earnings call, CFO John Lawler said the chip shortage could cut the company’s first-quarter production by 10% to 20% – a $2.5 billion hit to revenue.
The car models that will be impacted by cuts at Ford plants include the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair, which are produced at the Louisville plant. Cars.com said there will also be declines in production of the Ford Edge and Explorer, as well as the Lincoln Aviator and Lincoln Nautilus.
The company announced last week that it was closing three of its North American plants. The manufacturing sites will remain closed until at least mid-March.
The closures are expected to impact the Buick Encore, Cadillac XT4, and GMC Terrain. The company’s Chevrolet line will also see some slowdowns, as the sites that produce Chevrolet Equinox, Malibu, and Trax have been impacted.
Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen also feel the pinch
In January Fiat Chrysler suspended operations at plants in Ontario and Mexico. The slowdowns will impact several Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep products. Cars.com said dealerships will likely have lower inventories for the Chrysler 300, Pacifica, and Voyager. The Dodge Challenger and Charger may be in shorter supply, as well as the Jeep Cherokee and Compass.
BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen were some of the first car companies overseas to report shortages. In December, Volkswagen had already begun lowering production rates. The Volkswagen Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, and Passat have already been impacted by the supply disruption.
Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Ford, GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Volkswagen did not respond in time to comment.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is often associated with insurance, railroads, and other humdrum industries. However, the famed investor’s conglomerate is quietly cashing in on one of the hottest sectors around: electric vehicles.
Buffett’s company has notched a $6 billion gain on its General Motors and BYD bets in the past five months alone, as shares in the US and Chinese automakers have surged to record highs.
The investor enthusiasm reflects GM’s plans to roll out 30 new electric vehicles worldwide by 2025, and BYD’s rapid growth and status as the world’s largest electric-vehicle manufacturer.
Berkshire first invested in GM in 2012, then gradually grew its position to 80 million shares worth $2.4 billion as of September 30 last year.
The automaker’s shares have soared more than 125% since then, boosting the value of Berkshire’s stake to $4.3 billion as of Thursday’s close, assuming the size of its holding hasn’t changed.
Buffett and his team bet on BYD even earlier, snapping up 225 million shares at a cost of around $1 per share in 2008. BYD’s Hong Kong-listed shares now change hands at the equivalent of $34 each, valuing Berkshire’s position at $7.8 billion today.
The Chinese carmaker’s stock price was under $16 at the end of September, meaning Berkshire’s stake has jumped in value by $4.2 billion, or almost 120% since then.
Combine the $1.9 billion gain on GM with the $4.2 billion gain on BYD, and Berkshire has racked up about $6.1 billion in unrealized gains on those two stakes in under five months.
Buffett has been criticized for not investing in high-flying technology stocks such as Amazon and Alphabet over the past decade. Between Berkshire’s massive Apple stake and its exposure to the electric-vehicle revolution via GM and BYD, the investor won’t be too worried.
Interest in Super Bowl related content is down 10% from last year, according to Amobee analysts.
“Recent interest in Super Bowl party-related content has barely risen above where it was throughout 2020, confirming that the much-loved American tradition of Super Bowl parties will be forfeited to maintain social distancing,” Amobee brand analyst Avalon Harder told Insider.
Despite the changes, some Super Bowl ads have already begun to pick up steam online. TV ad measurement company, iSpot tracked engagement around the digital content put out by brands ahead of the Super Bowl and compiled a list of the top 10 brands getting the most buzz on social media.
Many of the commercials that have been trending on the internet focus on nostalgia, whether for old songs, NFL players, or 90’s movies. Other brands captured people’s attention with their focus on social responsibility, as companies like General Motors and Chipotle look to increase sustainability.
Here are some of the brands that have been creating the most buzz, according to iSpot’s data.
The Cheetos commercial packs a punch.
The snack company released three Super Bowl teasers for their Crunch Pop Mix ahead of the big game. The saga follows actor Ashton Kutcher as he investigates the case of the missing Cheetos.
Kutcher searches the house for clues regarding the missing snack, while a revamped version of Shaggy ‘s hit song from the early 2000’s, “It Wasn’t Me” plays in the background.
The video ends with Kutcher’s wife, Mila Kunis, telling her husband Shaggy’s catchphrase – “It wasn’t me,” when he confronts her about the snack.
9. Jimmy John’s
Jimmy John’s ad takes on a mob theme.
The commercial features actor Brad Garrett as Tony Bologavich, a type of sandwhich mob boss, who calls himself the “King of Cold Cuts.”
The mob boss takes on the sandwhich giant with stale bread and cold cuts made out of a science laboratory.
The Doritos ad is star studded.
The commercial features, Hollywood heavy-hitters including Matthew McConaughey, Mindy Kaling, and Jimmy Kimmel.
The advertisement shows Matthew McConaughey as a two-dimensional character, struggling to lead his life until he eats the company’s 3D Crunch Chili Cheese Nachos.
Doritos has long been known for their Super Bowl commercials. The snack company, owned by Frito Lay, has been a part of game day for nearly 15 years.
7. General Motors
GM’s new commercial focuses on their move toward electric vehicles.
The ad features Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson, and Awkwafina. It follows Ferrell’s antics as he decides to go after Norway for beating the US in electric vehicle sales.
The snack company’s nearly two minute commercial is jam-packed with NFL legends.
The ad “Twas the Night Before Super Bowl,” has football player, Marshawn Lynch narrating the night before the Big Game.
The video shows numerous Super Bowl legends preparing to watch, including Eli and Peyton Manning, as well as Joe Montana, and Deion Sanders.
4. Uber Eats
Uber Eats focuses on nostalgia and is one of the only commercials on the list to touch on the impact of 2020.
The Uber Eats ad stars Wayne and Garth from the 90’s hit “Wayne’s World.” The two characters reflect on the difficulties of 2020.
The video is the first in a series for Uber Eats featuring the two characters.
“High interest in the appearance of Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World in Uber Eats’ upcoming ad further indicates that audiences are especially in need of the familiar and nostalgic during a period of uncertainty in America,” Harder told Insider.
Cheetos’ top commercial focuses on Mila Kunis.
The ad sets up the longer commercial. Kunis gets advice from Shaggy, who tells her to “Just stick to the line I gave you.”
It’s a new year and it’s time for some new Cadillacs. These, officially, are the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing.
As Blackwing models, these cars are the best of what Cadillac’s got to offer in terms of power and performance. With their angular and sharpened design language, as well as the availability of a manual transmission (!!!), the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing will hopefully inject some excitement back into the Cadillac brand.
With order books opening on February 1 and deliveries starting this summer, the CT4-V Blackwing starts at $59,990 and the CT5-V Blackwing starts at $84,990.
Keep reading to see both.
The 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing are the top-of-the-line Cadillac models, designed to compete with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes.
The CT4-V Blackwing is the spiritual replacement of the ATS-V.
It has a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces a claimed 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque.
You can tell it’s coming for the BMW M3 and M4.
Both cars will have GM’s high-performance Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 suspension system.
Cadillac estimates the CT4-V Blackwing to hit 60 mph from a standstill in 3.8 seconds.
Its top speed is an estimated 189 mph.
Both cars offer a six-speed Tremec manual transmission as standard.
There’s a big, carbon-fiber lip spoiler on the trunk lid.
The cars come with forged aluminum-alloy wheels as standard.
They’re staggered, which means they are wider in the back than they are in the front.
As standard, the cars also have AKG sound systems.
V badging can be found throughout the interior.
The leather is quilted and ventilated.
And there are red seat belts.
The front seats are bolstered to hold you in place under hard cornering.
A performance steering wheel, 14.5 inches in diameter, comes as standard with the mid-and upper-trim CT4-V Blackwing models.
The CT5-V Blackwing is the successor to the mighty CTS-V.
Its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 produces a claimed 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque.
This one’s after the BMW M5. But whereas no modern BMW M5 offers a manual transmission, the Cadillac does.
Cadillac estimates its top speed to be over 200 mph.
Like any serious sports car, it has a big rear diffuser.
An additional front splitter helps with front-end aerodynamics.
The bigger front grille is designed to let more air in to help with cooling.
The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is the most powerful Cadillac ever made.
It wears 15.67-inch front brake rotors, the biggest brakes that have ever been installed on a Cadillac from the factory.
If a manual transmission isn’t your thing, then a 10-speed automatic is also available as an option on both cars.
Inside, there are bolstered seats as well.
That 14.5-inch performance steering wheel is a standard feature on the CT5-V Blackwing.
On the higher trims, you can get high-performance front seats.
Starting MSRP for the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing are $59,990 and $84,990, respectively.
Order books open on February 1 and first deliveries will start in the summer.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has probably scored a 65% gain on General Motors in the past four months, boosting the value of its investment by around $1.5 billion.
The famed investor’s company took a stake in the automaker in 2012, snapping up 10 million shares worth about $260 million at the time. It steadily grew the position to 80 million shares worth $2.4 billion as of September 30 last year.
GM’s stock price has jumped by about two-thirds to an all-time high since then, lifting the value of Berkshire’s stake by roughly $1.5 billion to $3.9 billion, assuming Buffett and his team haven’t touched the holding. They will disclose the contents of their stock portfolio as of December 30 in mid-February.
The automaker’s transformation efforts are driving its stock rally. Its shares have surged 8% in the past day alone, fueled by CEO Mary Barra and her team detailing their plans to roll out 30 new electric vehicles by 2025 at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday.
GM’s bosses also trumpeted their progress in developing nascent technologies such as autonomous driving and even flying cars during the virtual event.