No Tears For Wagoner's $20 Million In 'Retirement Benefits'

March 31, 2009

Former GM CEO Rick Wagoner is set to receive $20 million in retirement benefits after being summarily ousted from his post at GM. Yes, he's dedicated a huge chunk of his life to GM, and it's typical to reward big American CEOs on their way out their door. But do you really think he deserves the sum?

An ABC News blog explains that although the Treasury Department has "barred GM from paying severance to Wagoner or any other senior executive," the former CEO may claim millions in retirement benefits. GM financial filings show the company plans to shell out benefits of about $20 million to Wagoner.

Given GM's performance under Wagoner's lazy watchful eye, which John Voelcker said was characterized by Detroit News as "unfulfilled promises, massive corporate losses, destroyed credit ratings, the insignificant value of GM shares, tens of thousands of jobs lost and the gutting of GM's sprawling operations," should Wagoner be getting any more GM money at all?

Whether you take the pro-business capitalist side and decry the Federal government's use of might to oust a CEO, or take the stance that government needs to exert a stabilizing force at the moment by making bold decisions that might infringe upon the rights of crumbling companies, $20 million to Wagoner strikes me as unjustifiable.

Couldn't this $20 million be doled out to, say, struggling GM workers or perhaps put toward the company's recently announced "GM Total Confidence" April sales booster, helping to bring monthly payment assistance closer to Ford's $700 per month?

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