General Motors chief executive Rick Wagoner has been trying to convince Washington to stabilize the domestic auto industry--but his job also appears to need some steadying. After spending more than three decades with the automaker--and eight years as CEO--Wagoner is under fire as business experts and politicians call for his departure, Bloomberg reports today.
President-elect Barack Obama is reportedly pushing for a bailout, while Republicans look increasingly resistant. (Executives at AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were replaced per their bailout deals.)
Bloomberg has this colorful quote:
"There's the feeling that next to financial services, automotive execs are the dumbest people in the world," said Thomas Stallkamp, a former Chrysler president who worked at the car company when it received emergency government loans in 1980. "There are probably some symbolic moves that somebody's going to ask for."
But Wagoner has said he’s not sure “what purpose would be served” by his resignation. In an interview with Automotive News, he pointed to the credit crisis, rather than management, as the problem. From Motor Trend:
"Let's be honest, this industry is running at 11 million units today not because all the OEMs all of a sudden began to offer poor products. We're all running at 11 million units because the credit system in the country has failed," Wagoner said. "It has caused a huge dislocation certainly for our sector, but a lot of sectors of the economy have unemployment up moving into a significant recession and it seems a little silly to use problems that come as a result of a credit crisis as an excuse to wipe out really the most important industry in the country."