General Motors Corp. says the book “Irreconcilable Differences: Ross Perot vs. General Motors” is an “inaccurate and misleading” portrayal of the clash between GM Chairman Roger B. Smith and H. Ross Perot, former head of a giant computer firm acquired by GM for $2.5 billion in 1984.
GM, in its first official comment on the new book, said Friday that it “does a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of dedicated people at General Motors and EDS (Electronic Data Systems Corp.).”
In a prepared statement, GM also expressed concern that the book is being published at a time that its suit against Perot is about to come to trial.
GM contends that Perot violated terms of a $743-million buyout under which the outspoken critic of the auto maker was terminated as head of EDS and thrown off GM’s board.
“While we do not think the book fairly tells the GM side of the story, we feel it inappropriate to cite its specific inaccuracies because of pending litigation,” GM said.
Refused to Be Interviewed
Smith, however, declined to be interviewed for the book, which was written by New York Times reporter Doron P. Levin and scheduled to officially go on sale April 6--the same day the GM vs. Perot trial begins in Fairfax, Va.
Levin, who resigned as a Detroit reporter for the Wall Street Journal to write the book last year, now heads the New York Times’ Detroit bureau.
“All I can say is their statement differs from what I had been told previously by GM attorneys, who said the book is accurate and well written,” Levin said in reaction to GM’s statement, released while the car maker was closed for Good Friday.
The book recounts the incidents that led Perot and Smith to feud publicly in 1986 and result in the buyout, which gave Perot twice the value of his GM stock holdings and enraged many corporate shareholders who charged that the auto maker with wasting its money.