March 29th, 2009
06:21 PM ET
5 years ago

BREAKING: GM chief to step down, sources say

ALT TEXT

CNN has learned that the Obama administration asked GM CEO Rick Wagoner to resign. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner will resign as part of the federal government's plan to bail out the struggling automaker, White House and GM sources told CNN Sunday.

Wagoner's departure comes the day before President Barack Obama is expected to announce the latest details of the government's assistance plan for GM and Chrysler LLC.

A GM spokesman declined to comment, but a statement from the company said, "We are anticipating an announcement soon from the administration regarding the restructuring of the U.S. auto industry."

The two automakers face a Tuesday deadline to prove to the Treasury Department that they can be viable in the long term. Without such a finding, the government can recall the $13.4 billion it has already lent to GM and the $4 billion it loaned to Chrysler.

A 32-year company veteran, Wagoner has been CEO of GM since 2000.

Updated: 6:21 p.m.

–CNN's Kate Bolduan and John King contributed to this report.

Full story


Filed under: Auto Bailout • Obama administration
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. MLH

    Sounds like a good start. Wonder how much severance he gets.... Probably more than his laid off workers.

    March 29, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. S

    GM is failing. CEO should step down.
    Apple is doing well. Steve Jobs should come back.

    March 29, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Shermani

    This is probably a great initial step into fixing our horrific auto industry. Remember that Ford stepped down from leading his family's company about three years ago. Visionary? Maybe. Realist..... For sure. The American auto industry will continue to fail as long as we have the UAW unions. I do not blame the union members, I blame the union leaders. They are a bunch of parasites, and they have successfully destroyed most industries in our country. Isn't it rewarding to see that all of their support for the great Messiah is now backfiring. Hussein is starting to show his real colors, and turning his back on those that helped him win the election (crooked or not) on Nov. 4th. Watch out airline industry, your next on the chopping block.

    March 29, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. BK

    What a shame. Rick Wagoner is a class act, and has done an incredible job of restructuring the company already. Let's see who the idiots in the Obama administration will pick to follow him.

    March 29, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. George

    is he staying on as Chairman?

    March 29, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. 35% of Americans are TRAITORS for wanting America to FAIL and 65% of Americans to SUFFER!

    This cannot be a good sign, looks like GM may be headed for liquidation.

    May God help us!

    March 29, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. Roger Sand

    This is a first step to improve management but what about the board of directors? They are as much responsible for the downfall as Wagoner. We need to see most of them to go also.

    March 29, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Kevin (Madison, WI)

    Somebody had to take the fall. It really wasn't Wagoner's fault...GM has been a sinking ship since the late 1990s, so I do feel a little bad for him. But the company does need a complete restructuring, so they might as well start at the top.

    March 29, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Eric

    Its about time this guy was fired!!!

    March 29, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  10. Arvid J Miller

    This has been long over due ! How can any Corporation, any Board of Directors justify a CEO as inept as Mr. Wagner. I spent 44 years in the retail automobile business, my career began in a Generel Motors dealership. I have seen the product and market share go down, down, down. When I make a trip to the greater Los Angeles, CA area and see the depletion of these "then great dealers" and the GM brands they were so once proud of, it is extremely sad. How sad that after spending untold $Billions$ of dollars on the Saturn plant and product that they are going to give it up ! The entire GM needs to be restructured, young blood that have a different view through the lens ! GM need high energy people, bring in some brilliant people from the "high tech field" like a Jeff Bezos, GM can and should be saved !

    Sincerely,

    Arvid J Miller

    March 29, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. Washingtonian

    This is going to be interesting. I'm all for restructuring the American Auto industry as long as the workers don't have to concession themselves out of jobs. The problem with losing our manufacturing base is that corps no longer want to pay high insurance premiums for their workers as it cuts into profits, and then they start outsourcing. The next thing they complain about is the Unions even though only approx 15% of the American workforce is Unionized. Get rid of Unions, then it will be those pesky minimum wage laws and they will continue to outsource because we cannot compete with cheap outsourced labor. Imagine if we had tackled the healthcare crisis 25 yrs ago? Is there an answer to this mess? If I knew the answer, I'd be working for President Obama.

    March 29, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. Tray

    I guess they will give him a 100 million dollar bonus to step down; to compensate him fairly for bringing their company down. Then they will lay off thousands of workers making low wages, because the cannot afford to pay them. That is the American way isn't it?

    March 29, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. independent wonderer

    Mighty nice of him, bet he got paid a bundle 1st though !

    March 29, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. KLS

    Smart decision since GM failed under his leadership. I just hope he doesn't receive a huge bonus or a "golden parachute" for stepping down.

    March 29, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. Ted, Washington DC

    A bad and tasteless request. It is not this man fault that the economy tanked. Imagine Congress saying to Obama that it would not support his or that measure or request unless Mr. President you first resign.

    March 29, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. jaye

    He should have stepped down months ago.
    Now maybe GM can restructure and become profitable again.

    March 29, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  17. FastFred

    A victim of circumstance and at most a symbolic gesture.
    A political move to make everyone feel good. Like this man ran everything. A lot of people were to blame for the situation were in. How many Union Officials will get the heave ho.
    Replacing this one guy won't change a damn thing.

    March 29, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. Butch Dillon

    What does it say for GM survival when the guy in the wheelhouse is seen scurrying down the anchor chain?

    March 29, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. Ken Macone(Sparks,Nv-Police Dept.)

    Ha...ha...ha....LoL. How much longer do the (UAW) Unions get their free bailouts & Perks at our Tax-Payer's Expense.... BooooHoo to the UAW-Unions, gues they're gonna miss their $75.00hr + bennifits, Slacker-jobs producing obsolete-overpriced vehicles that nobody wants... It's the Fault of the Unions as to why our economy is so messed-up!

    March 29, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. Mark St. Gaudens

    Great News-Go Obama!!! Lets get all these self centered jackasses out of their position of power and give the reins to the workers. We don't need such "Quality" executives running the show any longer –next up –the members of the SEC that ignored all the information about Bernie Madoff for over a DECADE!!!!!

    March 29, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Donovan Colbry

    If this is what it takes to save our auto industry, then it's a good thing. But, isn't it ironic that we can give AIG close to 200 billion in bailout money cart blanc, and our oldest industry has to beg and go through hell to save what would amount to millions of jobs. Could it be because they are union? What a great way for the Bush lackies to try to destroy what helped make this country what it WAS and still could be.

    March 29, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  22. Jeff

    And so it begins. It's not the board of directors that asks for the resignation, it's the President of the United States through his minions. Are we reverting to a socialist form of governance at the speed of light or what!

    March 29, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. Jeff in Houston

    Cool. Cannot wait to hear what kind of vulgar, totally undeserved "bonus" this leech will get. What will the rank and file employees get, Mr. Wagoner, when the company you ran into the ground through agressive stupidity, finally goes belly up?

    Good luck Mr. Wagoner. Pardon all of us if we do not shed a tear at your departure. We are too busy trying to determine how we will survive your leadership.

    Maybe go down to Texas and play golf with George? Discuss the good old days? You two have so much in common.

    March 29, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  24. JimH

    Glad to see it. Now, if we would do the same with AIG and the large banks that displayed poor leadership and poor judgment, then "accountability" might be something more than just a word.

    March 29, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. Jack

    I just wonder what his golden parachute is going to cost the taxpayers. I cannot believe he's leaving without making sure his nest is feathered.

    March 29, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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