In his first 5 years as CEO of GM, Rick Wagoner earned 22 million dollars according to Forbes. From 2006 till the present he has earned only a couple million per year. Meanwhile his company decreased its market share by nearly half and investors over the same period lost confidence. GM’s share price has fallen from $90 per share down to $2 a share. I guess 30 million doesn’t buy very much CEO competence these days. One has to wonder what would constitute a performance failure? Did Wagoner pull the board of directors out of a burning Buick? What would a good CEO who increased market share and stock price be worth?
Wagoner had some nerve to complain before Congress that his industry was beset with problems stemming from the fact that customers cant get loans. Before the credit crisis, industry analysts were predicting GM bankruptcy and the performance of GM over the last 10 years speaks for itself.
I can only hope that the US car industry goes belly-up. I can only fantasize that this could turn into an opportunity for North America to evaluate the disproportionate resources it devotes to personal automobiles at the expense of collective transportation and shipping. Because even if America avoids a collapse of its auto manufacturing industry, it has a multi trillion dollar auto infrastructure to fix such as bridges and highways. The personal auto has butchered our countryside, choked our cities, poisoned our air, skewed our urban development, taxed our budgets, and constrained our livable spaces.
Let them go bankrupt and give the public’s billions to public transportation. Let a crumbling auto industry usher in some new dialogue about the best way to move people around.