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Obama Asks GM CEO To Step Down

By Wyatt Earp | March 30, 2009

rick-wagonerHmm, this is interesting. And by “interesting,” I mean scary as Hell.

So, um, is this the job of the administration now – to determine when a particular CEO needs to step down? Is this really what we want the government to be doing, instead of, say, running the country?

Watch your backs, folks.

The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.

The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government’s behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.

GM is a mess – I am not disputing that fact. Some would say that since they accepted bailout money, they should serve at the pleasure of the president and the administration. However, Wagoner – with 20/20 hindsight – probably wishes he never agreed to the bailout in the first place. He had to know that it would come with strings attached, right?

The surprise announcement about the classically iconic American corporation is perhaps the most vivid sign yet of the tectonic change in the relationship between business and government in this era of subsidies and bailouts.

Wagoner has been CEO for 8 years and at GM for more than 30. It is not yet clear who would replace him, or what role the administration would play in that process. (H/TPolitico)

This is a ballsy move by Obama, and it presents a very slippery slope. First it’s Wagoner, but then who’s next? Is it the CEO of Microsoft? Is it the commissioner of the NFL? Is it you or me? How far is the administration willing to go?

Personally, I don’t trust politicians to “manage” the business world. Let them frak up the government, but leave the private sector to the professionals.

Topics: Duct Tape Advisory | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “Obama Asks GM CEO To Step Down”

  1. Randal Graves Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Bill Gates and Roger Goodell didn’t take government handouts.

  2. Wyatt Earp Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Randal – True enough, and that was a smart move, because Wagoner’s ouster has sent the stock market plummeting . . . again.

  3. Doghouse Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Is this change we can believe in?

  4. Wyatt Earp Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Doghouse – Well, Wagoner just experienced some.

  5. Bob Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I am 55 years old and have never bought any thing but GM.

    Now that chairman obama has taken over i will never buy another.

  6. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Wow, I hope Nutter’s next.

  7. Jon Brooks Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I’m HOPING the CHANGE stops. We have a man in office who is so sure of his judgement that it is apparent he does not feel constrained by the constitution. His programs are being pushed by his minions in congress as quickly as grass thru a goose. Now if anyone can point out how reaching into the boardroom of a private company and releaving the CEO, irregardless of money taken or not, is pointed out as an executive power in the constitution. Any takers? Before our eyes a new Ceaser is being born. But hey..thats just my opinion, which soon when the ACORN and OFA corps are in place will probably be illegal too:) LOLOL What the hell, we had a good country while it lasted. Tell your grandchildren about it around the campfires some future night.

  8. bob (either orr) Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Obama is nothing more than the acquisitions manager for SorosWorld Inc. He reports to CEO Nancy Pelosi.

  9. USA_Admiral Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I am done with hope and change. It only took less than 100 days.

  10. usmc8511 Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Welcome to the age of Obama. 52′ers, still think he isn’t a communist prick?

  11. Wyatt Earp Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Bob – Why fire Wagoner but let the bank execs jobs live?

    Mrs. Crankipants – No chance. He runs a failing business (The city of Philadelphia), but he’s a Democrat.

    Jon – George Washington is turning over in his grave. These are exactly the policies that forced us to revolt.

    Bob (Either Orr) – She of the Iron Face.

    Admiral – Nice run while it lasted, huh?

    usmc8511 – More of a socialist one, I think.

  12. Alan B Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    The next stage is here now:

    If a company takes money from the Govt they will look at the renumeration packages off ALL staff (not just managers) and RETROSPECTIVELY change anything THEY think is excessive. If I sell my labour for, say, £30,000 pa in a freely negotiated contract, who is the Government to come in and say that’s not acceptable, work for £20,000 pa?

    I hate the concept of retrospective legislation. I do X which is legal. The Govt changes the law and X becomes illegal. I am convicted for carrying out an act that was legal when carried out.

    NOT ON!

  13. Alan B Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 2:34 pm


    Several intersting stories on:

    (feel free to delete this message)

  14. Bitter American Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    And the other shoe drops: Barney Fwank wants to dick-tate the salaries of CEOs being bailed out by the Obamessiah!

  15. Tom Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Does he have the actual authority to do any of this?