December 3, 2002
GM Names Wagoner Next
DETROIT - The General Motors Board of
Directors today announced it has elected Rick Wagoner chairman and chief
executive officer (CEO), effective May 1, 2003, following the retirement of
current GM Chairman Jack Smith, after 42 years of distinguished service.
Smith will also leave the GM board at that time.
Smith has been chairman since Jan. 1, 1996,
and held the offices of CEO from 1992 though 2000, and president from 1992
through 1998. He was first elected a GM director in 1990.
"Rick is the perfect leader for General
Motors going forward. His global experience, commitment to product and
technology leadership, his proven track record of continuously improving all
aspects of the company's operations, and leadership style, with an emphasis
on strong people and strong teamwork, are the right attributes to lead GM
into the future," Smith said.
Wagoner has been president and CEO since June
2000, and was previously president and chief operating officer from 1998
through 2000. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and president
of GM North America from 1994 through 1998. He became a GM director in 1998.
"The GM Board of Directors was unanimous in
its selection of Rick as the next chairman," said George Fisher, who as
chairman of the Committee on Director Affairs, chairs executive sessions of
the GM board. "While filling Jack's shoes is a formidable task, we are
confident that Rick will lead GM successfully in this highly competitive
industry. In his recent assignments, Rick has worked closely with the board
and proactively drawn upon its diverse experience, and we look forward to
continuing and expanding that close working relationship."
Wagoner has been with GM since 1977 and has
held a number of executive positions around the world, including vice
president - finance of GM Europe, and president and managing director of GM
do Brasil, before coming back to the United States in 1992 as executive vice
president and CFO.
"I have had the privilege of working with
Jack for a long time, and he has been a superb leader and role model,"
Wagoner said. "He has had a tremendously positive impact on General Motors
and me personally, and I fully expect the transition to be seamless. We will
work hard to continue GM's, and Jack's, tradition of honesty, integrity and
transparency, and respect for all of our stakeholders.
"Jack took over as our CEO at one of the most
difficult times in GM history," Wagoner continued. "He led us in a complete
restructuring of our then-troubled North American business, which we
continue to build on today, and at the same time championed important
strategic investments in China and other growth markets. Jack has put GM on
a solid foundation, and we'll build on that as we go forward.
"My priorities are clear. We'll continue to
bring out 'gotta have' products, compete aggressively in the marketplace,
and drive quality and cost improvements, while we work to strengthen our
balance sheet. I look forward to working with our GM team, our dealers, our
suppliers, and our unions, to keep GM on the favorable track that we've
experienced in recent times in many markets around the globe."
The GM board currently consists of 12
members, of whom only two are executives in the corporation. Only outside
directors participate in the election of the chairman.
General Motors, the world's largest vehicle
manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide, and has
been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM employs about 355,000
people around the world.