GM CEO Rick Wagoner Scores $20.2M Retirement Package

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

ABC News reports that outgoing GM CEO Rick Wagoner will walk away with a $20.2 million retirement package, not including the usual perks bestowed upon The General’s generals (e.g., free air travel, secretarial services, cars for life, etc.). Also standard: Wagoner’s pension is insured. In other words, if/when GM eventually files for Chapter 11 protections, even if the company ends up in liquidation, Wagoner’s pension is safe. And as the money is not a “bonus,” it can’t be stopped by the federales. In an email to ABC, GM spokeswoman Julie M. Gibson pointed out that it’s actually only $5M or so paid out over five years. (It’s my money and I want it now!) In a subsequent “clarification,” Gibson said the terms of Wagoner’s final compensation were not yet hammered out. “Specifics on any compensation entitled to, or actually paid to Mr. Wagoner are still being reviewed.” Could that mean he actually INCREASED his pay-out to piss off? Anyway, if Rick decides to take GM to court, guess who pays for the lawyer? Not that he can’t afford one: Wagoner’s already banked over $60,000,000 in salary. As for the value of Wagoner’s stock options, well, I guess there is some justice in the world.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Akear Akear on Mar 31, 2009

    All the money in the world cannot clear his conscience. He has destroyed what was once the world's largest carmaker .

  • Monty Monty on Mar 31, 2009

    Dear Mr. Wagoner: Congratulations on your "Golden Parachute". I, for one, am not envious of your severance package. You earned every single penny of it toiling at your job-for-life with General Motors. In fact, it may not have been nearly enough money. Not enough money to cushion you from what is going to be the next biggest topic in M.B.A programs; not enough to cushion you from the jibes and jokes from all the television and internet political and business pundits. Not enough to let you escape being the biggest business legend of all time. Yes, that's right. $20 million for leaving your mark on history as the biggest business failure of all time. It's not enough to insulate you from the muttering of the masses and posturing of the pundits, sadly. It's not enough to save you from the scorn and ridicule sure to be heaped upon you in the dozens, nay hundreds of books and studies that will flood the market in a short time. $20 million surely will not buy your family anonymity during the next several decades, when your name becomes synonymous with business failure. And have no doubts on that score, either. "Doing a Wagoner", or some alternate version, will enter the lexicon in the next few months, with all it's attendant humiliation and embarrasment. $20 million just seems so paltry, so miniscule compared to your and your children's future discomfort. What will your future be like, I wonder. Will it be a golden sunset of lectures and lucrative personal appearance fees? Perhaps a seven figure advance for your autobiography? A happy retirement spent playing golf and hanging with all your former GM buddies? I don't think so, actually. My advice would be to take your pension and disappear quietly, perhaps move to South America or some desolate island in the Pacific where you won't have to witness the mockery that your business career will be sure to generate. To be honest, I would have paid ten times that figure to hasten your exit from General Motors, to replace you with a person that had the cojones to do what had to be done. I believe you knew what had to be done but lacked the moral fiber and courage to do so. General Motors could have been saved. You just didn't have the fortitude to do the job. Don't worry, though, your legend has been carved in granite. We will not soon forget the name of Rick Wagoner, AKA Red Ink Rick. $20 million just seems so niggardly an amount. I hope you spend it wisely. Enjoy your legacy. Sincerely, Monty P.S. I have owned many GM products, and been grieviously disappointed by several of them, but if you had done what was needed and restored GM to it's rightful place in the Automotive Pantheon, I would have forgiven GM and bought another Chevrolet or Pontiac. As I'm sure millions of North Americans would also have done.

  • Nonce Nonce on Apr 01, 2009

    Obama wielded the same power that a private capital firm could wield. That is "if you want my money, then fire the guy in charge." There's nothing special here. It's not like AIG, where the government took special steps that another owner couldn't to punish its employees.

  • Michigan SmallBiz Michigan SmallBiz on Apr 01, 2009

    Rick Waggoner has more integrity in his spit than all you "what has the goverment done for me lately whiners" put together. How many of you have dealt with an unfair global economy? How many of you have to meet payroll and pay corporate tax upon tax? How many have to deal with "affirmative action, with regards to meeting goverment demands?" What a lame and weak country we are becoming. $20 million.....Rick...enjoy it, you deserved more! GM will still be here, although not in the same way we once knew it. All I can say is, be careful what you ask for...cause it might just come true. I cannot wait till the next election. Hopefully Barack Hussein Obama makes it that long.