Bailout Watch 224: GM CEO Rick Wagoner Resigns. Almost. But Not Quite.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 224 gm ceo rick wagoner resigns almost but not quite

The Detroit Free Press has been watching Bloomberg TV (who has the time?). And who should they see but Red Ink Rick Wagoner, the GM CEO whose testimony in front of the Senate gives new meaning to the words “clutch player.” Apparently, late in the game, Mr. Wagoner is ready to float away to Aruba on his golden parachute and take one for the team. Maybe. But he sure as Hell wouldn’t recommend it. [Quick aside. Never mind Rick Wagoner’s Gulfstream flight to Washington. Anyone want to bet that his compensation package includes free flights on the company’s planes AFTER his retirement? And what about golden Blue Oval Boy Alan Mulally’s family’s free jet travel? And Bill Ford’s access to the company planes? Where do you think HE goes with the jet and what exactly does HE do to keep Ford’s head above water?] “I’ll always do what’s right for the company,” Wagoner told Bloomies, boldly ignoring the prima facie case against the validity of any such assertion. “But even more critical during a difficult time period is having the best possible management team. We have a good team at GM. That’s not what I would recommend.” He wouldn’t recommend having a good team at GM? Ipso bloody facto.

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  • CliffG CliffG on Nov 20, 2008

    First of all, I own the "Aruba Baby" moniker, I think I trademarked it about two years ago. This is the probable scenario: Ricky will resign - with pension intact - when it looks like he is doing it for the "Best long term interests of the Company he has devoted his lifetime to..." in order to get that first $25b through Congress. Nothing like making the ultimate sacrifice for the Company he loves, see, even I, hardhearted schmoe I am, have tears welling up at this point, even though the sacrifice entails long evenings on a beach with a Cohiba and a straight scotch.

  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Nov 20, 2008

    Economic commentator (and frequent Harper's contributor) Eric Janzen over at had such a great article mentioning the GM debacle that I just had to put up a link. Well worth a read for the snarky humor alone "When an indebted Consumer is facing unemployment, the last thing on his or her mind is committing a big chunk of the next four to six years' household cash flow to a poorly engineered American gas hog. The gas hog manufacturer's financing arm, not thrilled about lending money to the indebted, soon to be unemployed Consumer, has raised lending standards so high that fewer than half as many applicants can make the hurdle as could this month last year. In retrospect shorting GM was like shooting fish in a barrel."

  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Nov 20, 2008
    Just to be clear here… Alan Mulally was paid $25m in HIS FIRST YEAR at Ford. That’s just obscene. Period. RF - I agree that this amount is obscene, but Mulally can't be faulted for it. That was his price for leaving Boeing and going to Ford. The Ford BOD is responsible. Of course, if this was not the offer, would Mulally have come? Or would they have ended up with an RW clone? I think Mulally is doing his job. As long as there is a free market, exec salaries are going to be large. Don't tell me that Toyota execs take smaller salaries out of the goodness of their hearts and dedication to the company.

  • Cdotson Cdotson on Nov 20, 2008

    1996MEdition - you forgot an adjective: Feckless. I think it to be the perfect descriptor for Wagoner's leadership. Miriam-Webster online defines it as synonym to weak, ineffective, worthless, irresponsible.