Wagoner Out at GM

The White House asks GM’s Wagoner to step down:

The Obama administration asked Wagoner, 56, to leave the company and he agreed, an administration official said. Wagoner said March 19 that he didn’t plan to resign. The likely replacement, unless the government hires from outside the company, would be Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson, said John Casesa, managing partner at New York-based consulting firm Casesa Shapiro Group.

“If they go to someone inside, Fritz is the obvious choice,” Casesa said. “He’s run every region, he’s been number two and he knows where all the bodies are buried.”

The departure of Wagoner comes as President Barack Obama prepares an address tomorrow morning on his plans for the future of the U.S. auto industry. GM is surviving on $13.4 billion in U.S. loans and is asking for as much as $16.6 billion in additional aid to survive. Wagoner was asked to step down as part of the company’s restructuring, the official said.

“It’s very hard for the government to write a big check without giving some evidence of change
,” Casesa said. “This will also give the government moral authority with the other stakeholders to make them sacrifice.”   (emphasis added)

Really? Heads will roll before writing big checks?

Funny, I kinda remember a trillion dispensed without so much as — You. Out!.

I am no fan of Wagoners, but I have to ask the geniuses behind the bank bailouts:  When are you going to ask the TARP and bailout recipients to step down?  Ken Lewis being asked to step aside after many years of running BofA ?  How about Blankfein? Pandit?  And the rest of the TARP recipients?

This inconsistency from the new administration is very disappointing.

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Previously:
Why Are Banks So Different From Autos? (December 9th, 2008)
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2008/12/why-are-banks-so-different-from-autos/

Why Bankruptcy For Autos But Not Banks? (February 23rd, 2009)
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/02/why-bankruptcy-for-autos-not-banks/

Sources:
G.M. Chief Is Said to Be Resigning in Deal With U.S.
BILL VLASIC and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
NYT, March 29, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/business/30auto.html

General Motors Chief Rick Wagoner Said to Step Down
Doron Levin and Jeff Green
Bloomberg, March 29 2009
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aWQfUoJXk8jc&

GM chief Wagoner to resign at Obama’s request
Michael Kitchen
MarketWatch, March 29, 2009
http://tinyurl.com/wagonerout

Government Forces Out GM CEO Wagoner
NEIL KING JR. and JOHN D. STOLL
WSJ, MARCH 30, 2009
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123836090755767077.html

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