Obama: Auto CEOs That Don't Get It Should Go

01/08/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

At a press conference Sunday, President-elect Barack Obama voiced his views on auto company executives:

President-elect Barack Obama said yesterday that top executives at the nation's three automakers should be replaced if they don't use pending government loans to make major changes - including taking immediate steps to produce energy-efficient vehicles - in a clear signal that he expects a bailout to be predicated on a wholesale restructuring of the industry.

"We have to have an auto industry that understands they can't keep on doing things the same way," Obama said at a news conference in Chicago. "If this management team that is currently in place doesn't understand the urgency of the situation, and is not willing to make the tough choices and adapt to these new circumstances, then they should go."

Obama did not single out any of the automakers. But the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Democrat Chris Dodd of Connecticut, said earlier in the day that he believes Rick Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors Corp., which is in worse financial shape than Ford Motor Co. or Chrysler LLC, "has to move on."

Pressure is building for Rick Wagoner, the General Moters CEO, to be ousted as part of a bailout deal.

The New York Times reported this weekend that the presidential transition is complicating auto bailout talks.

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