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Forcing out GM's Rick Wagoner
Was it inevitable that the Obama administration would ask Detroit's longest-serving CEO to go?
 

Rick Wagoner’s luck took a long time to run out, said Greg Gardner, Justin Hyde, Tim Higgins, and Brent Snavely in the Detroit Free Press. Even though General Motors had lost $82 billion over the past four years, the car maker’s CEO “had faced few serious challenges to his leadership.” The company’s board stood by Wagoner—which is why it shocked Detroit when GM’s leader abruptly resigned on Sunday.

“It was almost inevitable that GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner would get the boot,” said Jim Henry in BNET Auto. He was the longest-serving chief executive in Detroit’s Big Three, so “there was no way he could argue that GM was someone else's mess." With Congress and the Obama administration demanding accountability, Wagoner was the logical first victim.

Under Wagoner, said Micheline Maynard in The New York Times, GM’s stock price dropped from $70, in 2000, to $4. Yet he withstood calls for change from investor Kirk Kerkorian and from Congress, making him look like that “rare chief executive who gets another chance.” But when President Obama decided somebody new should “steer GM,” Wagoner met his match.

So now we're supposed to believe that Obama is "qualified to run an automobile company," said Pejman Yousefzadeh in the New Ledger. What an "absurd conceit." If there's a silver lining here, "it is that it will give the heads of other companies a glimpse of what might await them if they invite government to poke its nose inside their tents."

 

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