Rick Wagoner, American Hero

We are shocked!  We are saddened!  We are frustrated!  We are amazed!  We are disappointed!

Rick Wagoner (seen here in better days), CEO of General Motors, was in effect, both heralded and vilified by the very same man, in today's presidential speech.  He was, indeed, offered up by the Obama administration as a "sacrificial lamb" (quoting Michigan's Governor Grandholm).

The president spoke of how General Motors has impressed the world with its return to quality, pointing to the Buick Division's recent accomplishments!  His words:

"No one can deny that our auto industry has made meaningful progress in recent years. Some of the cars made by American workers are now outperforming the best cars made abroad. In 2008, the North American Car of the Year was a GM. This year, Buick tied for first place as the most reliable car in the world."

Then, despite these remarkable signs of progress, further along in this same speech, the president said:

"However, after broad consultations with a range of industry experts and financial advisors, I'm confident that GM can rise again, provided that it undergoes a fundamental restructuring.  As an initial step, GM is announcing today that Rick Wagoner is stepping aside as Chairman and CEO.  This is not meant as a condemnation of Mr. Wagoner, who has devoted his life to this company; rather, it's a recognition that it will take a new vision and new direction to create the GM of the future."

In other words, great and significant progress was made under Mr. Wagoner's leadership, but based on our appointment of a non-manufacturing guy to oversee everything effective today, Rick just couldn't cut it!

This is wrong!  The man who led the return to better quality and better designed cars (through his appointment of Bob Lutz), and the man who worked to accomplish what Congress (not the consumers) required (better fuel economy at any and all costs!!!), is relieved of his duties.  The CorvetteBlog reacts, rejects, and denounces these actions.

For what it is worth, Mr. Wagoner, this was not the way to honor you for your prodigious accomplishments.  We wish you better days ahead!  Corvette will miss you.

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7 Responses to Rick Wagoner, American Hero

  1. rcmcgarry says:

    I absolutely agree. When the ridiculously poor managers of the large banks and investment firms held onto their jobs, Obama and his gang insist on firing one of the only true “car-guys” out there. This bodes poorly for GM. As a Corvette owner, perhaps we need to start lobbying the Obama-gang now to be certain the Bowling Green Assembly Plant is not on the hit list too!

  2. EddyA says:

    Welcome to socialism: stripping our lives one liberty at a time.

  3. ahrcanum says:

    I hope GM doesn’t lose the Corvette as well.

    Wagoner hired his replacement years ago and both are a class act.

  4. Ryan says:

    It is pretty scarry when the goverment has the power to fire people from private companies. We as the people need to put our foot down to acts like this. Even though the GM executive probably needed to be fired. It is not for the goverment to decide. Last time I checked America, is a capitalist nation.

  5. John S says:

    Well,

    First, I am sorry for the Mr. Wagoner’s personal loss ($22,000,000 in severance ought help though), but I think the vilification of his successor as a “non-manufacturing guy” is ridiculous. Wagoner is a “non-manufacturing guy”. He rose to his position from his post as CFO. He is an economist by training, not an engineer.

    He made the decision to kill the EV1. He made the decision to sell off their battery technology to the oil companies. He is the CEO who presided over five years of continuous losses. The buck stops here. Ford, with massively inferior products isn’t asking for handouts. Only the incompetent managers at GM and Chrysler are. When you have a product mix that includes masterworks like Corvette and the Cadillac V-Series (I own both), not being able to make a profit, year after year says something very specific about the CEO.

    Making excuses for him, like no one man can do it by himself is nonsense. He was the boss. He had eight years. He screwed the pooch. End of story.

    Maybe he is your friend, maybe he is a great guy. But for far too long, the likes of GM and Ford and Chrysler have looked to the momentary blips in their stock prices, the immediate profits garnered by off-shoring (yes this includes Canada) and the wal-martizization of American industry and said “Yes”.

    It is high time for the captains of our industry to make everything in the US. Stop demanding sales and property tax concessions from local governments, support health care reform to unburden our industry and enable us to compete with foreign producers and to stop living like its everyone for themselves and remember that we are all Americans and we need to share the wealth and the pain.

  6. Jerry says:

    Goodbye Mr. Wagoner. it was under your watch that GM was run into the ground. You left the company rudderless. You killed the future (see EV1) for quick profits and no forward thinking. The Hummer? Why would you do this?

    To those of you who think he was wronged, “those who forget the past are doomed in the future”. He forgot the 70′s and 80′s and doomed his company in the 90′s.

  7. John S says:

    One other thing,

    When dealing with bankrupt companies, which GM most definitely is, the government has always had the power to hire and fire. What do you think bankruptcy judges do every single day? Do any of you think that bankruptcy judges are not part of the government?

    While I don’t agree with Obama on a lot of things, the response to GM and Chrysler to name but one, and the bailout of the sleazy oligarchs on Wall Street to name another, the simple fact is that the President has no obligation to even try to help GM and Chrysler. These are private companies. They have the bankruptcy courts to turn to. The only difference between what Obama did here and what the outcome in a bankruptcy might have been is that Wagoner agreed to leave in order to stave off bankruptcy, and he is doing this to save jobs put at risk by mismanagement.

    To be fair, the auto sector is very important to this country and it is worth saving. Were I in Obama’s shoes, I would let Citi and BofA go the way of the Dodo and I would rescue GM and Chrysler, but I would also appeal to the American people to stop buying foreign products unless there are no alternatives and to demand that the companies they do buy from, source their products here.

    Only by returning to an industrial economy can we, as a nation, put our fiscal house in order. We cannot survive when 41% of our GDP comes from financial services.

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