GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

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GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

Post  dwc43 on Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:15 am

GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan
AP

General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner Resigns Play Video ABC News – General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner Resigns

In this Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009 picture, General Motors Chairman and Chief AP – In this Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009 picture, General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner talks …
By TOM KRISHER and DAN STRUMPF, AP Auto Writers Tom Krisher And Dan Strumpf, Ap Auto Writers – 1 hr 5 mins ago

DETROIT – Time and time again, General Motors Corp.'s board of directors reaffirmed its support for Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, even as the company piled up billions of dollars in losses and begged for government loans to stay alive.

But Wagoner is now a high-profile casualty of government intervention, forced out as part of the Obama administration's sweeping last-ditch effort to save the century-old auto giant.

Wagoner, 56, who spent 32 years with GM working all over the world, stepped down effective immediately, the company said in a statement early Monday. He was replaced as CEO by Fritz Henderson, the company's vice chairman and chief operating officer.

GM board member Kent Kresa, a former chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman Corp., was named interim chairman and said new directors will make up the majority of GM's board when a new slate is nominated for election at the company's annual meeting in August.

"The board has recognized for some time that the company's restructuring will likely cause a significant change in the stockholders of the company and create the need for new directors with additional skills and experience," Kresa said in a written statement.

GM shares tumbled 96 cents, or 26.5 percent, to $2.66 in morning trading Monday. That is down 89 percent from their 52-week high of $24.24 on April 30, 2008.

The management shake-up, according to several industry analysts, shows that the administration is serious about forcing GM to change more quickly and dramatically than it did during Wagoner's nearly nine-year tenure as CEO.

Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive of the automotive Web site Edmunds.com, called the move "political theater" to appease an increasingly bailout-weary public.

"American taxpayers are not happy," Anwyl said. "But this way you're able to point to Rick and say he's gone, and that creates an environment where the loans become politically palatable."

By all accounts, Wagoner made progress in fixing GM. While CEO, he cut its U.S. work force from 177,000 to roughly 92,000 today.

Wagoner also closed factories; shed the unprofitable Oldsmobile brand; globalized GM's engineering, manufacturing and design to save billions; and led a resurgence in quality and performance of its long-neglected cars. In 2007, the company reached a landmark agreement with the United Auto Workers that shifted massive retiree health care costs to a union-run trust and ushered in a $14-per-hour wage for new hires, about half that of a current laborer.

But critics, including many members of Congress, say Wagoner moved too slowly, failing to cut enough of the company's huge health care and pension costs, and relying too long on high-profit pickup trucks and SUVs as gas prices rose and the market shifted toward smaller vehicles.

In the past four years, GM has piled up $82 billion in losses.

Still, Wagoner had the company moving in the right direction, Anwyl said.

"Was he moving fast enough or bold enough? Obviously, in light of what we know today," Anwyl said, "the answer would be no."

While ousting Wagoner, the Obama administration made no management changes at Chrysler LLC, which also is getting government loans. Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli has only been in charge there since August 2007.

David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said Wagoner's departure probably will have little impact on GM's restructuring efforts because Henderson was the heir-apparent in GM's succession plans.

"I don't think you would see any shift or significant change at all with Rick's leaving. I think the course that they're on, they're on," he said.

Wagoner became GM's face to the public during a disastrous November appearance before Congress to request assistance. He was lampooned on NBC's Saturday Night Live after being torn apart by lawmakers for flying to Washington in a corporate jet and offering vague, rambling answers to their questions.

"Given the history, a change in management could hardly hurt and might do some good," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday.

Wagoner's ouster came just before President Barack Obama planned to announce what Chrysler and GM must do to get government loans beyond the $17.4 billion they have already received.

Several senior administration officials said GM will get enough government aid to restructure over the next 60 days, while Chrysler will get up to $6 billion and 30 days to complete an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. If Chrysler fails to reach a deal with Fiat or another partner, the government won't provide any further financing, likely sending the company into liquidation.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make the details public.

Wagoner, a former Duke University basketball player, joined GM in 1977, serving in several capacities in the U.S., Brazil and Europe. He became president and chief executive in 2000 and has served as chairman and CEO since May 2003.

In a December interview with The Associated Press, he declined to speculate on suggestions that he step down.

"I'm doing what I do because it adds a lot of value to the company," Wagoner said. "It's not clear to me that experience in this industry should be viewed as a negative, but I'm going to do what's right for the company and I'll do it in consultation with the (GM) board (of directors)."

Wagoner isn't the first CEO to lose his job as part of a government bailout. The CEOs of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were forced out after the government took over the companies in the fall. Robert Willumstad, the former CEO of American International Group Inc., left the company in September.

GM cannot make severance payments to Wagoner or other senior executives under the terms of its governments loans. The company said in its annual report this month that Wagoner is eligible to retire under GM's salaried employee and executive retirement plans, but the amount he would receive was unclear.

GM and Chrysler were required by the Bush administration to get major concessions from debtholders and the United Auto Workers, with a deadline of March 31 for signed contracts. But very little headway was made in the negotiations this weekend as the parties awaited Obama's announcement.

Wagoner said in a statement early Monday that he was asked to "step aside" during a meeting with Obama administration officials on Friday, and he consented.

He called Henderson an excellent choice to lead the company and thanked employees around the world.

"GM is a great company with a storied history," he said. "Ignore the doubters because I know it is also a company with a great future."

___

AP Auto Writer Dan Strumpf reported from New York. Associated Press Writer Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.

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Re: GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

Post  dmw56 on Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:04 pm

I wonder how much $$$,$$$,$$$.00 he gets for leaving?

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Re: GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

Post  dwc43 on Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:41 pm

More than we both make put together over a ten year period I am sure ... lol. Wait, that aint all that funny.

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We'll make your payments.

Post  dwc43 on Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:10 am

We'll make your payments.
Where exactly do they get this money? I mean weren't we bailing them out for the past year or so???

GM To Make Payments If Buyers Lose Jobs

General Motors says it will make car payments for some customers who lose their jobs.

The automaker's new CEO Fritz Henderson says under GM's new "Total Confidence" program, the company will make up to nine car payments of $500 each for customers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Customers must qualify for state unemployment to be eligible for the program. The program starts April 1 and runs until April 30.

The news comes hours after rival Ford Motor Co. said it would take over customers' payments of up $700 for a year in the event of job loss.

Henderson, formerly chief operating officer of General Motors Corp., replaced Rick Wagoner who stepped down Monday at the government's request as the Detroit automaker seeks more federal aid.

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Re: GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

Post  dmw56 on Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:18 pm

dwc43 wrote:More than we both make put together over a ten year period I am sure ... lol. Wait, that aint all that funny.

$$$$20,000,000.00

I could live a few years on that!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

Post  dwc43 on Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:33 am

Yeah, I could actually LIVE on that for a few years. Beats what I make now ... lol.

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Re: GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

Post  txpower_ram on Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:45 pm

like I said its Government Motors, Ford, and Chrysler/Fiat??
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Re: GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

Post  chuzz on Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:46 am

GM and Chrysler were required by the Bush administration to get major concessions from debtholders and the United Auto Workers, with a deadline of March 31 for signed contracts. But very little headway was made in the negotiations this weekend as the parties awaited Obama's announcement.

After reading the above statement, I'm still wondering why eveyone is pointing the finger at Obama? This clearly points to the previous administration. Bush left Obama a big ole pile of doody to try to clean up. And as long as we continue to have the Dems and Repubs fighting one another, we're the ones who will continue to suffer.

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Re: GM CEO Wagoner forced out as part of gov't plan

Post  dwc43 on Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:49 am

Chuzz, all that means is that Bush asked them to talk with the unions and try to get them to back off on what the employees receive in benefits and pay, if they wanted the gov to help them out money wise. Nothing more. The car companies were not obligated to do anything if they did not want any gov. money. Even under obama they are still not obligated to do anything he says, unless they want that bail out money. And it is obamas fault. He's got no business bailing out any of them. There's no where in the constitution that gives him the power to do this that I am aware of. On top of that it's was a socialist society does. IT steals money from hard working people like me and gives it to a corp that does not deserve it. Part of his so called great distribution plan. It just keeps making the poor, poorer. This is exactly how 3rd world countries operate. There's even been other countries that operate on these principles that have come forward and told obama not to go this route. So if I'm wrong, and obama is right, why are other countries coming out telling him not to do this?

All that has to be done is let the car companies go into bankruptcy so they can restructure. They wont go anywhere. The airlines have been doing the same thing for years and they are still here. There's no need to steal my hard earned money to give to those car companies, banks or anything else. Let them fail or file bankruptcy and get it over with. It's how a capitalistic society is supposed to work and it's worked just fine for the past 200 years so why is it good to buck the system now?

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