• Mar 29, 2009
Tom Krisher of the Associated Press reports that General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner will step down from his post immediately, based on information given to him from an unnamed source. The news comes on the eve of President Obama's expected announcement of a deadline for General Motors and Chrysler to finalize their restructuring terms or enter government-backed, pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. There's no official confirmation from GM at this time. The only announcement the automaker made today was a brief, two-sentence statement in response to the anticipated Obama announcement, saying that they continue to work with the President's automotive Task Force.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the move was specifically requested by the Obama administration as part of the rescue plan that will be announced tomorrow. Wagoner reportedly agreed, and COO Fritz Henderson would appear to be in line to be the new top guy at the RenCen. No official word on that so far, either.

Get ready a big week of auto news, kids. The NY Auto Show just got a whole lot more interesting, too. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Official message from Rick Wagoner and GM's announcement of Board restructuring after the jump.

[Source: Associated Press, Freep]

GM Message from Rick Wagoner

On Friday I was in Washington for a meeting with Administration officials. In the course of that meeting, they requested that I "step aside" as CEO of GM, and so I have.

Fritz Henderson is an excellent choice to be the next CEO of GM. Having worked closely with Fritz for many years, I know that he is the ideal person to lead the company through the completion of our restructuring efforts. His knowledge of the global industry and the company are exceptional, and he has the intellect, energy, and support among GM'ers worldwide to succeed. I wish him well, and I stand ready to support him, and interim Non-Executive Chairman Kent Kresa, in every way possible.

I also want to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who supported GM and me during my time as CEO. I deeply appreciate the excellent counsel and commitment of the GM Board and the strong support of our many partners including our terrific dealers, suppliers, and community leaders. I am grateful as well to the union leaders with whom I have had the chance to work closely to implement numerous tough but necessary restructuring agreements.

Most important of all I want to express my deepest appreciation to the extraordinary team of GM employees around the world. You have been a tremendous source of inspiration and pride to me, and I will be forever grateful for the courage and commitment you have shown as we have confronted the unprecedented challenges of the past few years. GM is a great company with a storied history. Ignore the doubters because I know it is also a company with a great future.


GM Statement on Officer and Board Announcements

GM is announcing the following changes in the corporate officers and the board of directors:
  • Rick Wagoner is stepping down as chairman and CEO, effective immediately. Wagoner, 56, was named president and CEO in 2000, and assumed the role of chairman in 2003.
  • Fritz Henderson, GM president and chief operating officer, will serve as CEO. Henderson, 50, was named to his current position in 2008. He was previously vice chairman and chief financial officer.
  • Kent Kresa, chairman emeritus, Northrop Grumman Corporation, has been named interim non-executive chairman of the board of directors. Kresa became a GM director in 2003
  • GM is awaiting further announcements by the President and the Task Force on Automotive Reconstruction, and we will have additional comments at that time.
GM Board of Directors statement, attributable to Kent Kresa, Chairman

"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. The Board intends to work to nominate a slate of directors for the next annual meeting that will include a majority of new directors taking into account the addition of new directors, retirement, and decisions by individual directors not to stand for re-election, although the specific individuals who will be nominated or choose not to run or leave the board are not yet known."


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  • 129 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm fine with all of this so long as the next head of GM isn't some weenie from the High Church of the Environment who decides to stake GM's future on a line-up of cars designed to fit the enviro-ideology.

      Knowing Obama, that's what we're going to get.
        • 5 Years Ago

        I'm surprised that those who complain about govt intervention are labeled Rush or Bush fanboys or whatever. I'm no fan of O policies. (though think he's probably a decent man and fairly intelligent) . Just because I oppose all of this crazy spending and government takeover of the private sector does not mean I go around preaching about family values and such. Look how idiotic Congress is, they were criticizing GM for not making fuel efficient cars; well I drove past a Smart car lot last night and by the looks of that overflowing inventory that company must be screwed royally right now. So now we will have cars designed by Nancy Pelosi or Michael Moore (who recommended govt forcing companies to build green cars). The fact of the matter is that GM failed because of lack of "cool" car design (like Audi/BMW), weak management, a Union burden, and legacy poor quality and related perception - not fuel efficiency.

        The free market is still the best. Go to a socialist country sometime and live there; I have. The only way to describe it is that everything functions like the US post office, just probably 50% worse. Plus you can see what kind of cars would be produced retrospectively. I just can't wait for the next GM Lada or Zhiguli.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No bet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Have you seen the 'Obama Deception' yet?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now to really use a lot of symbolism, make Wagoner drive off in an Oldsmobile, ahahahahahaha...two useless outdated platforms, and both are canceled, lol!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes, because Obama has been pushing for the Employee Free Choice Act so hard.

      Oh wait...

      (This coming from an EFCA supporter)
      • 5 Years Ago
      From the GM Media website posting...

      http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet?target=http://image.emerald.gm.com/gmnews/viewmonthlyreleasedetail.do?domain=74&docid=53285

      GM Statement on Officer and Board Announcements

      Detroit, MI

      GM is announcing the following changes in the corporate officers and the board of directors:

      Rick Wagoner is stepping down as chairman and CEO, effective immediately. Wagoner, 56, was named president and CEO in 2000, and assumed the role of chairman in 2003.

      Fritz Henderson, GM president and chief operating officer, will serve as CEO. Henderson, 50, was named to his current position in 2008. He was previously vice chairman and chief financial officer.

      Kent Kresa, chairman emeritus, Northrop Grumman Corporation, has been named interim non-executive chairman of the board of directors. Kresa became a GM director in 2003

      GM is awaiting further announcements by the President and the Task Force on Automotive Reconstruction, and we will have additional comments at that time.

      GM Board of Directors statement, attributable to Kent Kresa, Chairman

      “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. The Board intends to work to nominate a slate of directors for the next annual meeting that will include a majority of new directors taking into account the addition of new directors, retirement, and decisions by individual directors not to stand for re-election, although the specific individuals who will be nominated or choose not to run or leave the board are not yet known.”

      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm excited, I'm afraid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here we go toward full blown socialism.It will only be a matter of time before the politicians are deciding how much YOU can earn and who will run the company YOU work for. By the way, the people who have ruined this economy are they politicians that claim they will save us.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, I don't even listen to Rush; I'm a Libertarian. Yes, Government can easily turn in to bad thing.If you want examples of why we should be afraid of government getting too much power just look at Russia,Cuba,China,North Korea,and The European Union. Why do you think the founding fathers put so many limitations on what government is legally able to do? We are not a true Democracy, we are a Democratic Republic, thus "and for the republic for which it stands". There's a big Difference, you should look it up.
        Yes, Democrats might as well rename themselves the American Socialist Party; although Republicans aren't too far behind them. Can you name one solution to anything, put forth by a Democrat, that does not involve an expansion of government power? Do you ever hear a Democrat talk about self-reliance, giving power back to the states, or anything else like that? No, all you hear from them is how they are going to expand their power over you through thinly veiled spending programs. Spending programs that borrow from Peter to pay Paul; and it holds true for both parties. I believe it was Thomas Jefferson that once said " A nation can not spend it's way to prosperity."
        Do you really think it's a good idea to abandon the principles that took this county from a nearly bankrupt nation of farmers and merchants to the most powerful country in the world in less than two hundred years?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem for the US auto industry has long been the unions. This has finally come to light. I expect that the Obama administration is going to put pressure on GM (and Chrysler/Cerebus) to make changes in the UAW contracts ... or else go into Chapter 11. This threat of Chapter 11 is what will make the UAW concede to changes ... and may be what saves the US auto industry. The move to push Wagoner out is for flash and style points by the Obama admin. Needed? Maybe. Effective? Probably only for PR. How will the stock market react ... it will go big one way or the other.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bullsh*t. Your anti-union nonsense is spoken like someone who has never seen the inside of an auto plant. UAW already has a tentative contract with both Chrysler and GM, but the hang up has been the bondholders demanding more from the union. The fact is that now that the transplants have laid off all their lower paid temp workers, which constituted any where from 25% to 35% of any transplant's assembly line workers, most of their plants, except for the Honda Indiana plant, have labor rates that are on par with the Big Three. Right now, GM & Chrysler could get the manufacturing labor for free and it wouldn't make much of a difference. There's no more work rules to go after, because those were done away with in the last contract. So were ALL the non-manufacturing related jobs, the so-called easy jobs people love to rail against, are all GONE. Either they're now outsourced, or their now the lower wage tier. Which now means that as workers gain in seniority, there's no physically easier jobs to move to.

        So, since the job rules have been done away with, and the "easier" non-manufacturing jobs are also gone and the transplants low tiered "temp" labor pool is gone, exactly what ******* changes are supposed to make? Why don't you research the issues before you post garbage based on stereotypes and innuendo. I've spent twenty-five years as an industrial sales rep calling on auto plants, and I've seen more in one day than you have in your entire life. Stop posting garbage.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Len_A ... is there any question that the unions once had value but the time for their service has long passed? There is no doubt that the high cost of long term health care / wage benefits offered as part of the 'package' is what seriously cripples these auto manufacturers? You are right to say I have never seen the inside of an auto manufacturing plant. I don't need to be a barista at Starbucks either to understand their business, what works, what doesn't.

        But since you have brought up the "lack of experience" I have in working in an auto factory ... I will turn to the experience I have with friends that have. My closest friend from HS has worked in one ... as did his father ... for over 40 years until his retirement. They are both hard core UAW supporters and have been as long as I have known them. Yet, both of them AGREE WITH ME that the UAW is a serious problem in this equation.

        So to get to your point about "garbage posts" ... what can the Obama administration do? What experience from working in an auto plant do they bring? It sounds to me like unless someone "drinks the same Kool-Aid" as you do (and thereby completely agrees with you) then they have nothing of value to add to the discussion. Seems a bit ... hmm ... narrow minded.

        Good luck to you in your narrowly focused world.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You're a moron.
      • 5 Years Ago
      what sort of compensation do you think he will run off with?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Only his Golden Parachute. But he's broke so it's more like painted plastic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        10+ minimum
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would also like to know if the shareholders and board got any say in this or if Obama simply dictated his decision.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM.....Green Motors. CEO....Al Gore.
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