Sunday, March 29, 2009

Obama Ousts Wagoner from GM

President Barack Obama has reportedly requested and received GM CEO Rick Wagoner's immediate exit from the company he's headed for nine years (and where he's been employed for three decades).

The move comes one day before Monday's announcement by the White House of its plans for the auto industry, which has received billions of dollars in aid from taxpayers but has not yet satisfied the Obama administration's criteria for submitting a workable recovery plan. Chrysler and GM have between them taken $17.4 billion in government money, and they're seeking more than $21 billion more.

When Wagoner made a high-profile speech to The Commonwealth Club less than a year ago, on May 1, 2008, the executive touted the company's efforts at adopting green technology and responded to audience questions about GM's commitment to delivering on those promises. (See video, above.) At the time, the big question was the price of oil, which had spiked at more than $140 a barrel; that would, of course, fall, but only as the economy went into a tailspin. (Read a PDF of Club President and CEO Dr. Gloria Duffy's column about her ill-fated GM electric car, the EV-1, a column that Wagoner referenced in his address to The Club.)

By the time many of you have read this blog posting, the Obama recovery plan for the carmakers will have been announced. Will it help drag Chrysler and GM out of the murk and back into profitability? Will it be a money-pit for taxpayers? What would you suggest the government do? Leave a comment and join the discussion.


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