Portfolio does its best to profile Stephen Feinberg—the ultra-secretive, ultra-cutthroat CEO of Cerberus Capital Management—without talking to him. Feinberg avoids the media like the plague, preferring to bring faltering companies into the black in secret, and his shadowy plans for new stepchild Chrysler are no exception.
“If anyone at Cerberus has his picture in the paper," Feinberg told investors, "we will do more than fire that person. We will kill him.” But he commands such a mystique that execs take salary cuts to work for him. Chrysler employees, meanwhile, are biting their nails over what the ruthless manager (and former Army sharpshooter) has in store for the auto giant, as are Wall Street and the political establishment—big job cuts in the auto industry could shake things up in battleground states before 2008. (Read more Chrysler stories.)