Daily Podcast: Failing Upwards

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
daily podcast failing upwards

Watching Rick Wagoner is like listening to some weird ass fairy tale: the Emperor's New Car Company. Only no one's saying Wagoner's buck naked and GM isn't new, it's old. As my father says, the only thing worse than getting old is the alternative. GM under Wagoner's administration seems Hell bent on exploring the alternative. Did you know that GM's market cap has shrunk by two-thirds since Wagoner assumed control? Did you know that the only reason the American automaker isn't in worse shape is that Wagoner sold EVERYTHING? Wagoner knows that and more, 'cause he's an accountant. In fact, Wagoner was GM's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) before he ascended to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) spot. And now he's chosen his CFO to be GM's new CEO; only he's calling Fritz the new COO, 'cause, well, Wagoner's still CEO. So here we have not one but TWO beancounters at the top of GM. Who've let a nutcase named Bob Lutz (winner of TTAC's Bob Lutz award) decide what kind of cars to build at a time when their North American market share is slipping, slipping, slipping… And let's be Frank here; the reason that the company is in such trouble is that this terrible triumvirate doesn't know how to build fully competitive cars. Or price them. Or brand them. Or advertise them Or… Doh! Anyway, as long as Wagoner's at the top of GM, you can be sure of one thing: someone somewhere will be cooking the books.

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4 of 18 comments
  • 210delray 210delray on Mar 06, 2008
    dastanley: Every time I read of Rick Waggonneer's response to a simple question I get a headache. He reminds me of Bush in this regard.
  • Blautens Blautens on Mar 06, 2008

    Mr. Farago is a little lower in volume than Mr. Berkowitz. But I find both quite audible. And I, too, vote for the 300HP V8 review first, I'd like to see what's sure to be flooding (okay, trickling into) the country clubs of Palm Beach County...

  • GS650G GS650G on Mar 06, 2008

    Go for the blown version, who really wants a jag that is neutered?

  • Domestic Hearse Domestic Hearse on Mar 06, 2008

    This just in... Not only does the guy "fail upwards," the GM Board of Bystanders makes him whole again. (Cuz, he's done such a good job? Just askin'.) Rabid Rick demotes himself to official RenCen pencil sharpener, and in reward, gets an additional 1M a year base salary in 08 (give or take a hundred). As Auto News reports: GM restores Wagoner's base salary DETROIT -- The General Motors board has restored CEO Rick Wagoner's base salary to its 2003 level -- $2.2 million a year. That represents a 33 percent increase over Wagoner's projected 2007 salary of $1.65 million. The figures do not include a variety of additional bonus payments, incentives and stock option awards. Wagoner received $2.2 million in base salary from 2003 until 2006, when he took a major cut to $1.28 million. The GM board announced Wagoner's 2008 salary in a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week.