Since joining the Cerberus team to help "advise" them on an acquisition bid for the Chrysler Group, everyone's been wondering what Wolfgang "Tomahawk" Bernhard'd be doing over there in Auburn Hills after the winning bid was announced. It looks like we've now got our answer. Reports from the Wall Street Journal yesterday indicate Wolfgang Bernhard's
"making the rounds at Chrysler's design studios, pointing out in detail what he likes and what he doesn't like and doling out assignments to employees the way he used to when he was No. 2 at Chrysler to Dieter Zetsche, now Daimler's chief executive, people familiar with the matter said...Company officials have stressed that Mr. LaSorda will remain chief executive. Mr. Bernhard, however, is poised to have a prominent role, as well...A person familiar with the matter says he will answer to Mr. Feinberg, not Mr. LaSorda, on Chrysler's performance. Mr. Bernhard already has an office on the executive floor at Chrysler's headquarters."
The key point here's the fact Bernhard won't be reporting to Tom "Slim-Fast" Lasorda, but he will...
...be reporting to Cerberus chief Stephen Feinberg. So if you're wondering what he'll be doing — it's really plainly obvious and you shouldn't be fooled by his title as "Adviser to Feinberg." In actuality, Wolfgang Bernhard is running the Chrysler Group. Remember, Wolfgang's got a two-year non-compete clause worked into his contract with Volkswagen. So, when he separated from the automaker representing Deutschland back in January, we knew then he wouldn't be able to take over the Chrysler Group outright without some kind of a workaround. The adviser role? Enter the workaround.