December 4, 2002
General Motors names Rick Wagoner next Chairman
Detroit, Michigan – The General Motors Board of Directors 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.
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.
“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,” said Wagoner.
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.