President Obama took GM CEO Rick Wagoner's ticket to make wagons away from him, and sent him packing.
Rick Wagoner, late of General Motors, never saw the ax coming.
America's recession-scrambling "Iron Chef" does it again!
When he arrived at the Treasury Department for a meeting last Friday with Obama administration's autos task force, he was a 32-year GM veteran and a chief executive carrying the weight of the company's wrenching restructuring on his 6-foot-4 frame. Pressure for him to quit last fall when he first approached Washington for a bailout had faded.
But Wagoner's plan for a GM turnaround and a $16 billion bailout was rejected in the meeting and the company where he spent his entire professional life fell off his shoulders.
"In the course of that meeting, they requested that I step aside as CEO of GM, and so I have," Wagoner said in a message posted on the automaker's Website early Monday.
Now the truth about just how bad Wagoner was can come to light. Reacting to the surprise of the move by Obama, GM was forced to snap to reality.
Wagoner has become the most-recognizable casualty of a once vaunted industry brought to its knees by a confluence of disastrous circumstances that coincided with the later years of his tenure. Some of the wreckage was out of Detroit's control, but some of it -- as President Barack Obama has said -- was self inflicted.
"Yes, we were surprised," Fritz Henderson, Wagoner's former top deputy and now his replacement, said of the task force rejection of the company's plan that he helped construct.
Henderson said emotions for many people in the GM community over Wagoner's ouster has ranged from shock to sadness to pride.
"He was asked to step aside and he did because he felt that was one of the requirements in order to move forward," Henderson said in a conference call with reporters.
Surprise -- the CEO with the $22 million golden parachute wasn't worth minimum wage, and had to be let go.
It's time for cream to rise in General Motors. The best of the best in the company need to step forward and marshal a plan to keep this company and its workforce above water and a part of the solution instead of having them join the ranks of the unemployed. Samurai Obama is a liberating force for new ideas at GM. Now we just need GM's people to give voice to their ideas on a new direction, and get on with rebuilding the company.
Restructuring needs to follow once a new direction is chosen, but restructuring should wait and be molded once the plan is in place. While the company is figuratively 'floating in debt' it is literally 'floating on debt,' and is being held aloft and allowed time to get headed in a new and correct direction because of its financial peril. Restructuring and saving these jobs is the leverage the company has with the Obama administration. Get the government on board with the new plan first, then restructure.
Hey, maybe Dick Cheney can be talked into take the reins at GM? Then Samurai Obama could fire his ass too. Hoo-Yah!
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