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George Richard "Rick" Wagoner, Jr. (born February 9, 1953) is an American businessman and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors. Wagoner resigned as Chairman and CEO at General Motors on March 29, 2009, at the request of the White Housemarker. The latter part of Wagoner's tenure as CEO of General Motors found him under heavy criticism as the market valuation of GM went down by more than 90% and the company losing more than $82 billion USD

Family and education

Wagoner was born in Wilmington, Delawaremarker and grew up in Richmondmarker, Virginiamarker. He graduated from John Randolph Tucker High School there, where he was named "Best All Around" student in his graduating class. He received a B.A. in Economics from Duke Universitymarker in 1975, where he also played basketball. He then attended Harvard Business Schoolmarker, from which he received an MBA in 1977. He is married and has three adult sons.

Wagoner is a member of the boards of trustees of Duke Universitymarker, Detroit Country Day Schoolmarker, the Board of Dean's Advisors of the Harvard Business Schoolmarker, and the Board of Directors of Catalyst. He is a member of The Business Council, The Business Roundtable, Detroit Renaissance Executive Committee, and the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.

General Motors

After Harvard, he joined GM as an analyst in the treasurer's office. In 1981, he became treasurer of GM's Brazilmarker subsidiary and later served as managing director.

In 1992, he was named GM's chief financial officer, in 1994 he became executive vice president and/or president of North American Operations, and in 1998 he was named president and chief operating officer.

After GM lost $30 billion during a single three-year stretch in the early 1990s, Wagoner and Chairman John F. "Jack" Smith Jr. forced GM "back to basics" to battle "30 years of management mistakes" that left him with little room to maneuver.

Chief Executive Officer

Wagoner became president and chief executive officer in June 2000 and was elected chairman on May 1, 2003. Under his leadership, GM suffered more than $85 billion in losses.

As CEO, Wagoner focused on highly profitable but fuel guzzling sport utility vehicles and light trucks. In an interview, Wagoner stated that the worst decision of his tenure at GM was "axing the EV1 electric-car program and not putting the right resources into hybrids. "It didn’t affect profitability," Wagoner claimed, "but it did affect image".

In April 2005 Wagoner took back personal control of GM's North American car division in light of its poor performance. In early June 2005 Wagoner announced that GM in the United States would close several plants and shed 25,000 employees (17% of GM's U.S. workforce) by 2008. The cuts will result in GM production reducing output by one million cars and trucks (from 6 million to 5 million).

In the Automotive industry crisis of 2008–2009, Wagoner came under renewed pressure as GM sought financial support from the U.S. government in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy. During hearings for government loans to the Big Three Automakers, Wagoner, Alan Mulally and Robert Nardelli were criticized for flying to Washington, D.C. in corporate jets. For a subsequent meeting, the three CEOs drove from Detroit to Washington by hybrid cars.

The BBC reported that Wagoner was popular among GM employees and reporters. However, it cites that he lacked the "ruthless streak needed to make the tough decisions required to bring GM back from the brink of bankruptcy." While analysts have praised Wagoner for operational improvements, cost cutting moves and the appointment of Bob Lutz to oversee product execution, others criticized him for his incremental approach to change, largely as he resisted making the drastic cuts demanded by that of the market and US government. Throughout the first months of 2009, Wagoner argued that a bankruptcy would be more costly than a government bailout. However, there remained lingering doubts that he was implementing the restructuring moves necessary to remain viable in the future without further government loans. G.M. Chief Is Said to Be Resigning in Deal With U.S. GM CEO Wagoner to step down at White House request GM chairman to leave US car maker Officials: Auto bailout plan forces out General Motors' CEO

On March 29, 2009, Wagoner agreed to immediately resign his position as GM Chairman and CEO, as part of the Obama administration deal to provide GM with further short-term financing. The following day, the US government rejected GM's initial restructuring plan and gave the company 60 days to come with new proposal or be forced into bankruptcy. G.M. Chief Is Said to Be Resigning in Deal With U.S. GM CEO Wagoner to step down at White House request GM chairman to leave US car maker Officials: Auto bailout plan forces out General Motors' CEO. He has been replaced as CEO by Fritz Henderson, who had been serving as GM's President and Chief Operating Officer.

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