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NEWSWEEK INTERVIEW: Rick Wagoner CEO of GM

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NEWSWEEK INTERVIEW: Rick Wagoner CEO of General Motors

Feels 'Completely' Secure in His Job: 'I Know in the End, All of Us Are Going to be Judged on Accomplishments'

On Calls For 'New Blood' in GM Management: 'That Is So Simplistic ... That Would Be The Biggest Risk I've Ever Heard Of'

NEW YORK, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner tells Newsweek's Detroit Bureau Chief Keith Naughton he is particularly annoyed by critical media coverage that fails to acknowledge any progress at the troubled company. "They talk about that we are not moving to address the problems," he tells Naughton in the April 10 issue (on newsstands Monday, April 3). "I want to say, 'Excuse me, what part of $15 billion in health care (cuts), 12 plants (closing), 30,000 people (cut), attrition programs, salaried health-care and retirement (cuts), salaried head-count reduction, a new sales and marketing strategy, advancing product programs-what part of that doesn't exhibit a sense of urgency in doing what matters?' What's frustrating to me is a lack of recognition of the progress."

In response to those who charge that because Wagoner grew up in GM culture he's incapable of the radical overhaul required and that new blood is needed, he says, "That is so simplistic. These are sophisticated problems with historical tails that run back 80, 90 years. The chance of someone coming in and understanding our business, making the right calls and doing them in cooperation with key constituencies like dealers and unions, is absolutely microscopic. That would be the biggest risk I've ever heard of."

So does Wagoner feel secure in his job? "Completely," he answers, "because I know in the end, all of us are going to be judged on accomplishments, whether we address issues and take advantage of opportunities. And I think we're moving on both fronts, frankly, pretty well. So I feel very confident."

Wagoner also responds to Jerry York's speech in which he said GM must go into "crisis mode." "It's easy to announce stuff. It's not so easy to do stuff, particularly if you can't do it yourself, if you've got to do it in cooperation or in conflict with unions, if you do it with Delphi, if you need partners to consider a partial sale of GMAC," says Wagoner. "What has been done in the last six months borders on unprecedented accomplishments and advances. This stuff didn't happen because someone decided on Jan. 15, why don't we do stuff? This stuff happens because we're working on it, we're ready to do it, we're talking to people and when we have it ready, we announce it."

(Read entire interview at www.Newsweek.com.)

Source: Newsweek

Edited by thegriffon

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Go Rick go!

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Wagoner, 52, has kept a low profile as the criticism has mounted. But now he’s decid­ed to come out swinging. In an interview with NEWSWEEK, he offers a passionate defense of the job he’s doing and rejects the notion of replacing him with an outsider.

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This is what he needs to do. Silence can be deadly. He needs to work harder than ever to get the message across as he is doing now. Remember a vacuum will be filled with SOMEthing. His just is to make sure it's filled with what people want to hear rather than what his enemies and pundits (media) what you to hear.

Edited by ellives

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thegriffon: Thank you for posting this!

Mr. Wagoner is in an extremely difficult position, and I'm glad that he has consented to be interviewed. I feel for him on many of the questions.

P.S. - I have unsubscribed from Buickman's website and e-mails. It just got to be too much to keep hearing.

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I had just posted on the article about last nights 60 Minutes show that I think Rick is THE guy. He does have the toughest job in America, and I think he'll right the ship. Don't forget, this is a huge "ship", and it will take time, but, he's the right "Captain".

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Buickman, i may only be 18, but i know a stuck up prick that's so full of himself that he can't help but resort to 3rd grade name-calling and insults when i see one. Get a life and act your age instead of your shoe size.

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Buickman, i may only be 18, but i know a stuck up prick that's so full of himself that he can't help but resort to 3rd grade name-calling and insults when i see one.  Get a life and act your age instead of your shoe size.

FO' REAL!

GO TEAM WAGONER!

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Blind faith in your leaders can get you killed (Vietnam).

Ok that's crossing the line.

Vietnam and GM's current condition are hardly one and the same.

People still support GM, and wagoner & team are actually making a difference.

The same can't be said for lyndon b johnson's presidency or your self-righteous bull-$hit.

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Guest buickman

Buickman, i may only be 18, but i know a stuck up prick that's so full of himself that he can't help but resort to 3rd grade name-calling and insults when i see one.  Get a life and act your age instead of your shoe size.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Listen kid, I was leading the nation in car sales when you were in diapers. Wipe your nose, get an education and some experience, then talk to me.

Buickman

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I'm not locking this thread because it has a credible premise, but I will delete posts. I'm serious. Respect is needed from all sides.

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I was 15 when it ended.

Exactly, so you're really talking out of your butt on things you know absolutely nothing about, once again. I really don't care what you heard from Walter Cronkite, you were not there, you do not have access to internal documents, and you do not know what it was like.

I am not a war hawk, but I am also not a conspiracy theorist like you. The leaders of our nation are not intentionally leading us all to ruin; they really do have the nation's best interests at heart even though I may vehemently oppose their tactics or actions of accomplishing their goals. Vietnam was a new kind of war. The U.S. was not used to fighting a war like that; in many ways they still aren't fully up to the task. THAT SAID, the government is very much like a surgeon or doctor...even if the patient is likely not going to do well, they have an obligation to play up the positives because surgery, like war, is at least 50% mental. If you think you're going to win, you're more likely to triumph because the patients/public are more enthusiastic about the surgery/war and are more likely to give it their all when they are fighting the cancer/war.

Were we in Vietnam too long? Oh, most definitely, but the issue is not so black and white. There were many politically-charged issues with pulling out of the war: Americans had never really lost a war, except for the half of the nation that lost the Civil War. Also, pulling out would be a sign of weakness to our allies and other nations around the world. We were in the midst of a Cold War with Russia and had very little idea what was going on in their side of the Iron Curtain. We now know America was soundly advanced of the Soviets, but this was NOT known at the time, and it really was best to take a conservative approach that the Soviets could and would expand Communism in politically turmoiled nations, which at that time was a direct threat to American interests and the beginning of America's globalization.

Of course, I don't really expect you to understand the complex nature of the politics surrounding the Vietnam War because you have repeatedly demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge of the complexities involving the automotive industry, which in turn is infinitely less complicated than international politics during warfare.

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Guest buickman

you have repeatedly demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge of the complexities involving the automotive industry

It's not that difficult. All it takes is a good car and someone who knows how to sell it. No one at the top of GM has ever, to my knowledge, retailed automobiles. That's how we end up with Red Tags in cars through the dead of winter, covered with snow. To say I don't understand the automobile business is rather foolish, sir.

Buickman

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I'm not locking this thread because it has a credible premise, but I will delete posts. I'm serious. Respect is needed from all sides.

:withstupid:

While Buickman can get annoying, the responses to him are just as annoying, if not more because they are downright disgusting. We all have our opinions about GM's management so both sides need to learn to respect them, please.

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you have repeatedly demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge of the complexities involving the automotive industry

It's not that difficult. All it takes is a good car and someone who knows how to sell it. No one at the top of GM has ever, to my knowledge, retailed automobiles. That's how we end up with Red Tags in cars through the dead of winter, covered with snow. To say I don't understand the automobile business is rather foolish, sir.

Buickman

Jim, I will say this with as much respect as I can. I hope that the leader of one of the largest companies in the US and likely the world doesn't put 'used car salesman' on his or her resume. That isn't really what I put next to Harvard MBA. The CEO of a company like GM doesn't have to understand retail sales. He has to produce the best product and it is up to the dealers, which I am sure you know, aren't owned by GM to sell the cars. If you want your plan to actually impact anything for GM then you need to go to the regional dealer bodies NOT GM corporate, this is like the 20th time I have said this and I would like for you to FINALLY read it.

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Guest buickman

Yes, it does. Please remember that what was released was only the first twenty steps of Return to Greatness.

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