C'mon Lee, tell us what you really think

Here's how former Chrysler chairman - and longtime L.A. resident - Lee Iacocca opens his new book "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?":

"We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car."

He says "I hardly recognize this country anymore" - and not in a good way. But get back into the game? Pretty unlikely. Iacocca doesn't have any interest in making a bid for Chrysler or even publicly supporting the efforts of his longtime buddy, Kirk Kerkorian. Last week, his attorney Terry Christensen (who also is Kerkorian's lawyer) told the Times of London that "Lee thinks [the Kerkorian bid] is great and he would be happy to help in any way he can." But the 82-year-old Iacocca himself told the Chicago Tribune that "If I had the money I'd buy it, but I'm too old, and, besides, been there, done that." (Long-time Iacocca watchers know that the guy is generally a straight shooter, even if he doesn't always shoot straight.) Iacocca, if you recall, supported Kerkorian's 1995 to take the company private. But then CEO Bob Eaton, who was hand-picked by Iacocca, wound up pushing for the acquisition by Daimler-Benz, and of course it's turned out to be a pretty terrible marriage. Iacocca says that Eaton was outmaneuvered by Juergen Schrempp, the former head of Daimler-Benz. "Unfortunately, I should have checked Eaton out better," Iacocca said in the book.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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