Sunday, March 29, 2009

GM CEO Rick Wagoner

Rick Wagoner, Jr. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors has resigned today as Chairman and CEO at General Motors at the request of the White House. The U.S. government will announce plans for restructuring of GM and Chrysler tomorrow. During Wagoner's unsuccessful tenure as CEO of General Motors, the market capitalization of GM has gone down by more than 90%.

In 1992, he was named GM's chief financial officer, in 1994 he became executive vice president and/or president of North American Operations, and in 1998 he was named president and chief operating officer. He became president and chief executive officer in June 2000 and was elected chairman on May 1, 2003. During his reign, GM shares have plummeted from around $60 in June 2000 to as low as $1.27 in March 2009, a loss of approximately 98%, and GM's share of North American cars sales went from 28.3% to 18.3%.

In an interview, Wagoner stated that the worst decision of his tenure at GM was "axing the Saturn EV1 electric-car program and not putting the right resources into hybrids. GM was at the forefront of electric automobiles with the EV1. It didn’t affect profitability, but it did affect image." The effect on the image was that the perception of GM changed from viewed as a technology innovator, into a perception of the company as having little interest in innovation. Meanwhile, serious competitors like Toyota were outperforming GM in nearly every measure. GM basically became a company that provided unexceptional cars in a market with a number of substantial competitors. GM, under Wagoner's leadership, failed to see clearly obvious trends.

My take is that Rick Wagoner should have been gone years ago! The fact that GM was mismanaged from the worlds largest car company from dominance in the auto world to begging for government bailouts is unthinkable. I find it hard to believe the that GM Board of Directors or the shareholders had not terminated him and selected someone else!


  1. Hi Pete .. Sounds like they made a few mistakes .. and I agree bailing them out sounds v strange - but protecting the work force I guess.

    Thanks for the up to the minute post ..
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters

  2. Hello Hilary,

    GM will be a Harvard case study in corporate mismanagement. It is not all his fault but he will be blamed!

    I think that GM should go into a structured bankrupcy, clean out some of the old management, clean up debt, eliminate waste etc.

    I am also of the opinion that should have been done to the banks, notice all their CEO's are still in place.

    Thank you for your comments!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online
    Best Regards