"Disgraced" Former Home Depot CEO Robert "Big Bob" Nardelli Named CEO Of Chrysler

You can’t keep a good CEO down! Or something. Robert “Big Bob” Nardelli, the CEO who famously ran Home Depot into the ground by deemphasizing customer service in favor of the “business supply” division and then ran away with over $200 million in severance pay and other bonuses, has been named CEO of the Chrysler Group.

“I am very excited to be part of a team focused on re-establishing Chrysler as a standalone industry leader, with a renewed focus on meeting the needs of customers,” said Nardelli.

Robert Nardelli Named CEO of Chrysler [CNN Money]

PREVIOUSLY: Home Depot’s “Embattled” CEO “Big Bob” Resigns
Home Depot Is Still Really Sorry That You Hate Them
Home Depot Revamps Customer Service: “We are not to let a customer go untouched.”

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  1. SaveMeJeebus says:

    This guy needs to be tarred, feathered, and shot. I guess the $1 annual salary is supposed to make people feel better about this crook. This guy is pretty much textbook material for any corporate governance class’s “board/CEO relationship failure” chapter. Well, on the flip side, at least those who actually buy Chryslers won’t be bothered by pesky salespeople. Big Bob will make them very hard to find.

  2. mike1731 says:

    Well, I guess with many of the experienced Enron executives either dead or in prison, Bob was the best there was. Pity I have a Jeep, maybe I should sell it now before he runs the company out of business.

  3. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I watched the A&E Biography of the Home Depot founders over the weekend, and it’s truly a shame that this guy took their vision and shit all over it. CEOs are ridiculous.

  4. TWinter says:

    Ugggg. What were they thinking? Chrysler desperately needs good leadership and they picked this guy?

  5. rbb says:

    What is it with these egotistical idiots? Why can’t they just say I’ve got enough money to not have to work another day in my life and still live better than 99% of the population. Why do they feel a need to take on another company and ruin it? And what is up with Chrysler hiring a guy with that record?

  6. iMike says:

    @rbb: That’s 99.9999% of the (global) population. Or better.

  7. mopar_man says:

    Wow. As if “Dr. Z” didn’t do a good enough job of running Chrysler into the ground, they went and got this guy?

  8. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    He looks like a used car salesman.

  9. MeOhMy says:

    Apparently the board at DaimlerChrysler believes the ship is already going to sink, so no sense trying to turn it around.

  10. Joe Hass says:

    The best part of this is that this happened the first day that Cerebus had control of Chrysler, and after swearing up and down to anyone who would listen that they had no plan to replace Tom LaSorda (who lost the CEO title, but kept his President title). Now they go into contract negotiations with the UAW who didn’t trust them at all. Yeah…this is gonna go swimmingly.

  11. Msgundam84 says:

    They should make this ass-clown pay to run the company. Also, didn’t
    Chrysler just recently start offering a ‘limited’ LIFETIME powertrain
    warranty. This have something to do with it? Or did they do something
    good to balance the bad?

  12. Daemon_of_Waffle says:

    @Msgundam84: He sold his soul to the devil. His 10 yrs of good luck is balanced by the customers getting the bad luck. Soon the collector will come calling.

  13. theblackdog says:

    Good thing my friend quit working at the Jeep dealership. I smell another buyout in a year.

  14. reykjavik says:

    There is honestly very little that makes me happier in life than seeing an american car manufacturer go under. So I hope this is the last step for chrysler – poor quality, regressive environmentally unfit engines and arrogance is what this countries car companies are all about. Sometimes they just need an idiot like this guy to push them over the edge of the cliff. I think I’d honestly throw a parade in the streets when Ford closes shop (which hopefully won’t be too far away).

  15. Trai_Dep says:

    Well, at least it’s consistant with US car companies’ desire to race themselves into the cul-de-sac of irrelevence and bankrupcy.

    Don’t worry: the ’08 line of wide-bodies SUVs will fix everything!

    Just wondering – when you’re hired as a high-level US car exec, the stock options contract is one to sell short, right? Because one that only pays out if the stock goes up seems like a losing proposition.

  16. Cowboys_fan says:

    I think I’d be selling my stocks over this doozie. I wouldn’t trust him answering phones.

  17. sporesdeezeez says:

    Errummm…well, not every discussion needs a Devil’s Advocate, but this one is pretty one-sided so I’d like to go a little different route. Just some questions for the sprawling collective brilliance of Consumerist readers, here, not opinions I’d stake my reputation on:

    1) Is hiring a guy who screwed up necessarily a bad move? As someone who has screwed up numerous times, I know that personally I am unlikely to repeat the error afterwards. I don’t know anything about this guy personally, but if he’s anything other than a shallow, egotistical, golf-loving playboy, he’s got to be introspective enough to learn from his mistakes. Or is he exactly said playboy?

    2) Even if he does come in and do the same exact thing, are his mistakes with Home Depot going to be mistakes for any company? My understanding was that his business model was metrics-driven (also true of No Child Left Behind, which doesn’t bode well). Metrics-driven management was bad for Home Depot, but what about a vehicle manufacturer? They seem worlds apart to me. Especially considering that it seems like the management of the automobile retail space is handled by the dealership franchisee, not the car maker, is this guy’s business philosophy really bad for Chrysler just because it was bad for Home Depot, or are there specific reasons it’s bad for Chrysler?

  18. rbb says:

    @sporesdeezeez:

    OK. Let’s give him a chance as long as he buys $200 million in Chrysler stock with the money he scammed from Home Depot. If he does well, he will be rewarded by his investment. And if he drags the company down like he did Home Depot, well, you get the picture.

  19. bohemian says:

    So this guy is the reason I quit shopping at Home Depot? I think I can back track and figure out the exact month he implemented his plan and sales associates were non existent or surly and unhelpful.

    Sadly most of the US automakers are intent on slowly strangling themselves instead of pushing ahead with some decent high MPG vehicles.

  20. myrall says:

    I read this headline in the local Atlanta paper today and nearly choked on my coffee. Chrysler’s brand is already suffering – they’re just asking for it now. Is the shortage of quality CEO’s that great? Whatever! I’ve had it with “visionaries” like this worthless dude getting paid obscene amounts of money to just drive compainies into the ground. What do the shareholders say about this madness?

  21. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @MalcoveMagnesia:
    You do realize that you’ve just insulted every used car salesman in America?
    No of them come close to being as slimy as Bob the Boob!

    @Joe Hass:
    Why didn’t they just hire Tommy LaSorda the ex-Dodger manager?
    He couldn’t do any worse.

  22. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @myrall:
    I guess Al Dunlap wasn’t available!

  23. ExecutorElassus says:

    seems like textbook corporate raiding to me: daimler sheds an unprofitable division by selling it to some investment group. said investment group brings in hack, stock plummets, and investment group then dismembers the company, selling parts of it off to other investment groups. shed inventory, real estate, etc. along the way. pocket profits from said sales, and the hack walks away with another fat profit.

    my alternative is that they’re going to deep-six chrysler to crush the UAW, like delphi did.

  24. mopar_man says:

    @reykjavik:

    Good post for a Monday morning. Sounds like your girlfriend broke up with you last night and your dog shit in your shoes this morning.

  25. TPK says:

    I talked to a Home Depot employee a few weeks ago. First asked how long he had been there, which was several years, so he had seen a lot of the transitions, next asked how things were with the “new guy in charge”… he said it was a ton better than it was under Nardelli. So this gives me a little hope.

  26. TechnoDestructo says:

    @mike1731:

    Jeep is the only Chrysler division that is likely to survive this. I wouldn’t worry TOO much, especially since they’ve only just recently started heavily Chryslerizing Jeeps.

  27. AskCars says:

    Chrysler is now a public company so stock prices won’t be there to hold up as a gauge to this guy’s performance. Take that as a positive or not.

    They should have gone with a car guy like Bernhard. Those rumors were flying last week and everyone was very positive on that. Oh well. Chrysler is already suffering from a product problem and I don’t see this leadership knowing anything about product.

  28. Bobg says:

    Is it April 1st already? This is an April Fool’s joke right? This really can’t be happening. I think I’ll try to get the job of running GE. I’m not qualified but what the hell. If Nardelli can do it so can I.

  29. CumaeanSibyl says:

    So this is what being incoherent from rage feels like.

  30. TheUpMyAssPlayers says:

    I work for Ford and let me tell you I couldn’t be less happy about this. Chrysler is going to tank and fast with this bozo at the helm. That does not bode well for Gm OR Us. The American car industry is screwing itself into non-existence.

    Sucks.

  31. 49323 says:

    Great… now I’ll never find a sales associate around to sell me a car…

  32. smarty says:

    Two things:
    First, to all who even mention Chrysler stock are “misguided” to put it kindly. Cerbeus is a private company (meaning no public stock) which invests in other companies. Cerbeus now owns about 80% of Chrysler LLC. Which means 20% is owned by Daimler. So if Chrysler does horribly, it’ll have about a 20% influence on DCX stock. DaimlerChrysler is expected to be renamed Daimler AG to reflect the majority of it.

    Second, to play the other side: Nardelli is known for horrible customer service. But how much of the manufacturing side (which is what he’s running) is about customer service? Isn’t car customer service at the dealership? How many people call the manufacturer to complain? Or if a car has a problem, do you drive it to Chrysler headquarters demanding to see a manager? He supposedly cut costs at HD and did it well. That’s what he is hired to do with Chrysler, and he’ll probably cut costs well. So in this type of job, what customer service problem is he creating?

    [Of course I’m ignoring how horrible it might be if there are problems with cars and how he will probably resist issuing any recalls. Not to mention he might cut costs too much and throw out crappy cars that are short on safety and looks]

  33. tomcatv1 says:

    I think this may be indicative of what’s wrong with American business. The Peter Principle is alive and well.

  34. Roundonbothends says:

    Chrysler is already horrible about trying to deny legitimate warranty claims. That’s where this hopeless asswipe can hit hard. I bet my diesel RAM outlasts HIS sorry ass at Chrysler, but I do hope nothing breaks while he’s at the helm. (I already have the 100k warranty on the engine.)

  35. Roundonbothends says:

    Oh, and I bought a CUMMINS. It came with a Dodge truck attached.

  36. ChaosMotor says:

    Another example of how “big business” is so insular and downright frightened of the unfamiliar that they are willing to let known crooks become CEO and run away with the piggy bank, simply because the CEO is already has name recognition.

    If you’ve been a big-business CEO once, no matter how poorly, you will never again have to worry about commanding less than a multi-million dollar contract.

    They’d rather sell-out their shareholders and their entire corporation to play party to a known thief than give an opportunity to someone outside the club, with new ideas and new thinking – which is what Chrysler sorely needs.

    I’d like to know the BoD breakdown of Home Depot and Chrysler. Somebody’s back is getting scratched here.

  37. bnissan97 says:

    And the people that chose him chose him why? This is sad.

    Maybe the long-term plan is to really do away with Chrysler and Nardelli is the key player to accomplish this.

    No Chrysler you have no hope of me buying one of your namesakes while he is there.

  38. Rusted says:

    Why do I have this vision of car sales-bipeds in orange aprons?

  39. Bobg says:

    I wouldn’t even walk into the dealership with this bozo in the CEO chair. I know that I will be dissatisfied with my Chrysler vehicle.

  40. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    Lee, if you’re reading this, the American… No, the World comsumer needs you now more than ever to walk into the Chrysler building to bitchslap Nardelli and take reign once again!

    Only, this time, instead of working for the pennies you offered back in the early 80s, you’d get the package that you know you deserve!

    Iacocca could get it done! Hell, I’d surely buy another Chrysler product then!

  41. Trackback says:

    DaBlog gives it up for Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard, then reviews the new Robben Ford and comes to the defense of the Goo Goo Dolls; AM, Then FM kneels at the altar of Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings; Ickmusic continues the vinyl resurrection (more on that later), then shares DC’s…

  42. DwDunphy1 says:

    Nardelli was formerly with G.E. He knows manufacturing, and this is probably what attracted Chrysler to him. This and the fact that they’re as desperate as a fat boy on his last comic book bag.

    Now, having said that, should Chrysler suffer for their poor choice, they deserve what they get. Yes, Big Bob was a bad fit with essentially a retail chain; yes, he’s used to making things to sell and not selling stuff that’s pre-made, but his unconscionable choice to screw things up, walk away with a buttload of loot and leave scores of low-wage earners to wonder who’s job is getting dropped to pay for it all is a horrible example.

    Every Chrysler employee should be plopping their resumes on Craig’s List before this saboteur sinks their battleship.

    DwD

  43. Nilt says:

    @Roundonbothends: “Oh, and I bought a CUMMINS. It came with a Dodge truck attached.”

    Heh; that’s an excellent point. That being said, I think Dodge just lost their new truck sale I was going to give them. There’s just no way the Home Despot asshat is getting my business.

    Now I have to start all over with my new truck plans … .

  44. Blueskylaw says:

    Where is his orange smock?

  45. bottomrung says:

    i quit my store level home depot job in august 2006. i worked the 6 years of the nardelli tenure. i’ll qulify my talents by the following:

    1) my top sale (1 transaction) was 42k, and
    2) i have 26 yrs exp selling building materials

    in a nutshell, working for home depot was pathetic. i witnessed the decline in customer service and the increase in demand on the store level employee go hand-in-hand. employee benefits were eliminated, starting with the 5 year service bonus (fortunately, i was grandfathered on that one by 2.5 months).

    many of the comments here point out the decline of visible service during nardelli’s tenure and justly so. but i’d also like to point out that the customer’s were not the only losers in the mix. whereas they lost the personal expertise they’d grown to expect, they still got ‘good deals’ if they could shop for themselves.

    i’ve already pointed out how the employees lost, but what about the shareholders? they made no significant gains under the nardelli reign, yet that s.o.b. took $500 million in his 5 years.

    to put that many dollars in just one pocket is just plain evil. and for another company to give him the helm is just plain stupid….