Now that Rick Wagoner is out of a job, he's eligible to start receiving retirement benefits from his former employer of 32 years. Though having received over $63 million in salary since becoming a General Motors executive in 1992, Wagoner is eligible for a "Salaried Retirement Plan" and "Executive Retirment Plan" that are together valued at $20.2 million.
With all the rage directed towards executives in the banking industry who recently received tens of millions of dollars in bonus money, we're sure there'll be similar outrage expressed over an auto exec receiving a $20M+ retirement package after leaving his company propped up by federal aid on the brink of bankruptcy.
There are differences to note, however, as the money Wagoner will receive is neither bonus money nor a "golden parachute" severance package. GM is not allowed to pay executives severance money under the conditions to which it agreed when the automaker began accepting federal aid last December. Wagoner's retirement plan reportedly doesn't count as severance, and therefore he is legally permitted to receive it.
We wonder, however, if public opinion might influence Wagoner's decision to accept the retirement package. Some banking executives have chosen to voluntarily give back the bonus money that they are legally, though perhaps not morally, entitled to receive. Wagoner could do the same, we suppose, if he believed it would benefit GM. After being asked by the president to leave his job at GM, though, who knows if he cares?
[Source: ABC News, Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty]