• Mar 30, 2009
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]


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  • 62 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      so, that is a 20M retirement package, its not a 1 time bonus or golden parachute.
      not nearly the same.

      though that is a sweet deal. 625/yr for each of 32 yrs of service if he gets all of it.

      in light of the wall street shenanigans, this is all just misplaced frustration.

      the deltas in the numbers are just ridiculoous. the amount of meddling going on over 60billion for the auto industry vs the hands off approach of 1 trillion for the banking industry is ridiculous.
        • 5 Years Ago
        TIM,
        I'm not a fan of Wagoner, just have a hard time with Government dictating Wagoner has to go but not the top crooks at AIG, Citibank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo.

        have a harder time with the government taking my money and buying into businesses at all, much less majority shareholders. give me a tax break of 20K and let me pay down my mortgage (pumping money into the banking institutions to ease credit burden), invest in the stock market (driving the DOW and NASDAQ up), or buy more crap (helping feed the economy at job level).

        and I dont think Wagoner did a great, or even passable job but his 20M for 30 yrs of service is a lot less less than other pkgs for a lot less time that we've seen recently.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's because the banks are much more likely going to pay everything back than the auto industry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rick will be glad that he still has 2 supporters. You and his wife.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not a huge fan of this, but in all seriousness, $20m is not a huge amount for someone in his position in a company of that size. Hell, Nardelli got two HUNDRED million dollars in severance from home depot.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "that is a 20M retirement package, its not a 1 time bonus or golden parachute. "

        True, but you're still paying for someome who has not come anywhere close to performing. Every time some corporate cheerleader starts in with that "you have to pay for top performers" and all that other bullsauce justifying multi-million dollar executive compensation packages we'll always have Wagoner. Show me how he earned this money. Better yet, explain to me how he can even sleep at night accepting that ill-gotten money. Shameful.
        • 5 Years Ago
        sektor, you must not know a lot about banking...
      • 5 Years Ago
      how about GM write him an IOU for that 20mm and then go bankrupt...that would be fitting
      • 5 Years Ago
      The board of directors is still stealing from the Shareholders and giving it to their friends.
      • 5 Years Ago
      He should keep the money, apply for unemployment, and also use the recenly announced Cobra health benefit to defray his health care costs. Obama and his leauge of MBA wannabe lawyers running Auto/Health/Education/Finance and Energy. God help us all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hell, he shouldn't have been fired, they could have doubled his pay to $2.00 per year, and make him the head groundskeeper.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, let him have that $20,000,000.00 - it adds to his shame.

        In fact let him keep the Gulfstream jet too, anything else he wants. It'll all be printed in future MBA grad school text books.

        100 years from now, college kids will still be reading what he did, how his actions obliterated the mighty GM out of existence. It's quite possible is last name will become a negative connotation verb for all time...

        "...Man, you really pulled a Wagoner with your company." - businessman in the year 2050

        • 5 Years Ago
        He should be forced to take every penny of it in GM stock that can't be sold for 2 years. That way he can suffer along with the rest of the shareholders. But then I think all executives should be forced to take their pay in company stock. That way they get paid or not based on the job they do.

        This man drove the world's largest car company into the ground and lacked the grace to know when to step aside on his own. I can't imagine a more dishonourable end than having the President of The United States tell you it's time to go. This will be one for the text books.

        Unfortunately I think the changing of the guard comes too late for GM. 60 days is not enough time to change a corporate culture that is so out of touch and has been so decimated by cuts. Whatever survives of GM when the dust settles will be a far cry from the giant we have had a love/hate relationship with all these years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I just saw a CNN clip of Rickie telling Wolf Blitzer in a December 2008 interview that he (1) served @ the will of the GM Board of D's... & (2) He DID NOT have any "Golden Parachute". (complete BS, but he chose to say it publicly)

        I'm sure CNN has this video archived or a part of Wolf's program.

        Free Market & Capitalists spare me your defense of Wagner in advance. This man ran GM for a long stretch & has pulled down MILLIONS. He should WALK AWAY & help support his now former company RECOVER.

        Be a man of his word & walk away WITHOUT a Golden Parachute he told the public he DID NOT have in place. If its a contract obligation... take the check & immediately put it in an envelope & RETURN it to his former employer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's already been out-sourced to Groundskeeper Willie
      • 5 Years Ago
      Rick's retirement benefits are for credits earned while working at GM. Every GM employee is entitled to this benefit. Therefore it is inconceivable for anyone to deny Rick his rightful share.

      Should he give it back?...No....He earned it fair and square like everybody else.

      More good news is unraveling...The hit that GM and FIAT a.k.a Chrysler took is nothing compared to what it happening in the part supplier directory.

      "Auto-part supplier stocks plunged as concern over a GM and Chrysler LLC bankruptcy grows. American Axle ($1.40, -$0.36, -20.45%), TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (TRW, $3.14, -$0.94, -23.04%) and Lear Corp. (LEA, $0.80, -$0.20, -19.55%) all declined. Baird reiterated its view that investors need to get out of the auto sector as fast as possible."
      http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090330-712682.html

      Obama has created another crisis that is unfolding rapidly. The auto parts suppliers are going down big time. If GM fails, they all fail, and so does the rest of the American auto industry. I doubt these Harvard graduates could find their way out of a plastic garbage bag
        • 5 Years Ago
        AZZO45b

        As a CEO of a company $100,000 per annum is not a lot to ask for. I double checked my database and found that Rick Wagoner was actually in charge of no less than 206 facilities in NA; 23 in Europe plus those in Asia (China and S.Korea).

        So, Rick was worth at least $22,900,000 a year to the General. True, that is an outrageous sum. But let's say you were running 229+ separate companies at $100,000 each per year, that is what you would probably ask for too. Pulling them all together in one cohesive unit is quite another matter.

        I disagree that your aunts and uncles will get Jack Sh*t if GM files for bankruptcy, because I know that won't happen. Here's the outline I have surmised:

        1. The bondholders will not budge, thus forcing Obama to seize control.
        2. Obama will likely form a Resolution Trust to settle all outstanding matters.
        3. The shareholders will lose their bets.
        4. The bondholders will get Jack Sh*t!
        5. The retirees will reap the benefits, because Obama will not let the little guy down this time.
        6. The Saturn, Hummer, Saab, and BPG dealers will be history either by sale or forced closure.
        7. GM may have to shed Opel, Vauxhall, Holden and Daewoo as well either by sale or divestiture.
        8. Cadillac and Chevrolet is all that will remain, because that is all that is viable at the present time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        AZZO45b

        Correct. Rick Wagoner obviously is not your average run of the mill GM employee. Most GM employees work 9 to 5 with weekends off (unless they need to grab some overtime).

        Rick managed 45 or more businesses under the GM umbrella. How many GM employees worked for all of those companies? It is inherently harder to manage such a large portfolio of diverse companies and make them work together towards a common goal. I think Rick succeeded quite substantially in that role.

        I wonder how many engineers could have done as well considering all the problems Rick faced on a daily basis? No doubt, he carried his work home with him every single day. Rick Wagoner was worth every penny he was paid, and more.

        I am one of those grubby little Re-snublicans who thrives on backroom corporate dealings. However, I do have a deep concern for the little guy on the street (Joe the Plumber et al) and realize fully how important unions are to the overall economic picture. Therefore, I praise the UAW and CAW for all they have accomplished for their membership. I am ecstatic that the UAW has accepted the VEBA format, although I am somewhat dismayed by the auto-companies inability to fund the landmark achievement that brings more financial security to the recipients. Canada is much more advanced in this area with their national Social Security program.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jamie: Rick Wagner is not the run of the mill GM employee... spare me your logic. Rick Wagner made more in ONE YEAR than 20 well paid GM engineers will make in a LIFETIME!!! :) :)

        If GM goes into bankruptcy my 3 uncles, two aunts, & best friends grand mother watch their retirement go BYE-BYE. All except one white collar, non union employees (I point this out because a staple of AB posters HATE & BLAME anything UAW) 30-40 years loyal service will be eating dog food while rick "gets by" with his fairly earned" GM severance package.

        Excuse me if I don't share your vision of a "fair" break up of the pie! Rick Wagner has PLENTY in the bank... he won't miss his GM severence. He surly won't be living off of it. He was over payed & overcompensated for YEARS... underperformed too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jamie: Still disagree with your "Re-snublican" philosophy. Again, Rick ran those 44-45 companies with the help of a helluva lot of regular white collar-level "Joe" & "Jossies". Many also using UAW labor (that numbers show raised their Q numbers best they could). Still some of Rick's divisions & his business "leadership" were sub-par at best.

        Call me "old school", but my family benefited from one of your older "Re-snublicans" ... Lee Iacocca took over a Chrysler Corp in the toilet, had the balls to work for what he was WORTH (that $1 salary being recycled...) & then enjoyed bonuses & the perks once he FIXED the problems. He also made much LESS than Rick has probably made in a 2-3 year period. I know different $ eras


        The REALITY?... GM will probably have to enter into some form of a managed bankruptcy & Rick won't get jack $h*t!!! Bad news... neither will my aunts & uncles! :( :( Repeat that for my Chrysler family members.
      • 5 Years Ago
      screw duke
        • 5 Years Ago
        The ZR1 was code named "Blue Devil" because of Rick's pride in his Dukies
        • 5 Years Ago
        Duke? That was undergrad, Wagoner bills himself as a Harvard man.
        • 5 Years Ago
        screw harvard. harvard men ruins country.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ahhh America..where you can run an entire corporation into the ground and still receive millions of dollars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The "bailout" never ends....
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a retirement package. It's probably to be paid to him over the next 20 years, not all at once.

        He worked at the company for 32 years, don't you think he deserves a pension, just like every other employee that leaves the company after 30-some years?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, he'll probably not see more than pennies on the dollar.

        WHEN the company files Chapter 11, his claim for $20M will be just another unsecured claim against the company. If the widget makers get 20 cents on the dollar for what they're owed, most likely, so will Rick.

        And if GM doesn't file . . . well, think of those nice fellows at AIG and the warm reception they got. The White House won't let that happen again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wagoner should give up his retirement package.

      Along with every single UAW worker past, present and future.

      $20M as a downpayment on *BILLIONS* of retirement dollars is a small price to pay!
      • 5 Years Ago
      They told you to walk Rick, take the money and run. This is not the first time we have given bailouts to companies not aware of the contracts that their executives are under. Want anger? Blame the people who pass bailouts without knowing who the players are and what their compensation is.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I never tied it to Obama, however you ASSumed I did meaning you made the same assumption you ACCUSE me of. Unless Obama is "the people" then you misunderstood. He did not pass the bailouts single handedly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Flip a coin, call it in the air.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So what do you suggest? pay him 20mil to leave or give him 20 Billion to burn through?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Outstanding.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, that is truly impressive.

        So the board hires a super crappy CEO, guarantee's him buckets of money regardless of whether he does good or bad, then he drives the company to the brink of bankruptcy and the gov't says "sure, I'll help, but get rid of your super crappy CEO first" and it's somehow Obama's fault the CEO walks with about $20 million.

        It takes a real master to spin Wagoner's excessive compensation package as being Obama's fault. I bet given enough time you could also tie him to Katrina, the war in Darfur and 9/11. Outstanding.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You guys are really silly. You wanna fiddle while Rome burns. $20 mill severence to a guy who served at the company for decades and is entitled to a package. Meanwhile the chief of AIG can txt Obama to wire him an additional $150 bill every Saturday night, no questions asked.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I will never make 20 MILLION in my lifetime (& I make a decent living...)

        How many GM engineers that actually contribute something to GM, would it take to add up to 20 MILLION??? Statistics tell us about 1.7% of Americans earn 250K yet it seems 45% DEFEND the ultra rich & file it under "free market" , Capitalism, the American Dream.... BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!

        Free Market? That depends on Arab Oil, Chinese loans, & European real estate investors. American Insurance Group (AIG) blew up due to London based day traders looking to maximize profits.

        Rick Wagner will survive. He earned 12-15 MILLION a year (without his "benefits") for about a DECADE. You Wagner apologist & contract law defenders make it sound like GM would be sending the guy straight to Skid Row without his Golden Parachute! PLEASE!!!
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