Sunday, March 29, 2009

Resignation of CEO should be just the beginning if GM is to recover

Today's resignation by General Motors chief executive Rick Wagoner still leaves another question, and it's a big one: what took so long? GM shares have lost 95 percent of its value since Wagoner took over in 2000 and GM lost its position as the world's largest automaker by stubbornly refusing to build vehicles that measured up to the foreign competition for years. Wasn't anyone over there concerned about that until now? Actually, it didn't seem anyone over there was concerned about it all, since Wagoner had to be driven from office by the Obama administration as a condition of continued federal support. But how can Wagoner's expected replacement, Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson, be any better? He's part of the same management team that drove General Motors to the brink of bankruptcy. A GM official said earlier Sunday that the White House had made clear to his company that "new leadership" was the key to additional federal help, according to CNN. The government already has loaned more than $13 billion to GM to keep the company afloat and Chrysler has accepted $4 billion in federal loans, but the automakers have asked for more than $20 billion in additional loans. Ford, the second-largest U.S. automaker, has not sought federal loans.

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