POLITICS
01/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Pressure Builds For GM To Oust CEO As Part Of Auto Bailout

UPDATE 12/07 at 9:00PM EST:

In addition to Dodd's statements this morning, there is growing outside pressure for GM CEO Rick Wagoner to step down.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

But calls for Mr. Wagoner to step down appear to be growing. In a statement from his office Sunday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), said that, "while it can't happen tomorrow because of the urgency of the companies' financial situation, I would like to see management changes as part of any restructuring."

On Sunday, Jerome B. York, an adviser to billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian who served as a GM director in 2006 when Mr. Kerkorian owned a stake in the company, called publicly for sweeping change at GM.

"Aside from a failure of leadership at the most senior executive management level, GM has five long-serving directors who have been on the board 10 years or more," Mr. York said in a telephone interview. "They have approved of and overseen many of the moves that have contributed to the company's troubles. They should also resign."

Possible successors for Mr. Wagoner could include GM President Frederick "Fritz" Henderson, who took over responsibility for GM's auto operations from Mr. Wagoner earlier this year. Outside replacements could include Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn. With the right personal financial incentives, Mr. Ghosn might accept, suggested Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, an expert on CEO turnover and a senior associate dean at Yale University's School of Management.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said that Rick Wagoner should step down as chief executive of General Motors as part of any government-supported restructuring process.

"I think he has to move on," Dodd said on CBS's "Face the Nation".

Dodd has been working over the weekend to craft a roughly $15 billion
auto bailout package that would carry the Big Three through March of next year. The automakers requested $34 billion from Congress last week.

Dodd said the smaller, short-term package would give lawmakers more time to consider a government oversight board or an administrative process to oversee the restructuring of the industry.

"There is a lot of reason to be furious," Dodd said about the industry and its pleas for federal aid. "But there is a lot more at stake than just Detroit. If this were just about Detroit, I'd let them fail in a New York minute."

Read full story here.

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Watch a clip of Dodd on "Face the Nation."

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