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The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.
On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.
The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government's behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.
General Motors issued a vague statement Sunday night that did not officially confirm Wagoner's departure.
General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC must overhaul their recovery plans with deeper concessions to justify further taxpayer aid, and bankruptcy may ultimately be their best chance, an Obama administration official said.
The administration asked GM Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner to step down, and he will be replaced by Fritz Henderson, the company’s chief operating officer. GM will also replace most of its board and must place greater reliance on producing more fuel-efficient vehicles, under findings to be announced today at the White House by President Barack Obama.
Now, I know that when people even hear the word "bankruptcy" it can be a bit unsettling, so let me explain what I mean. What I am talking about is using our existing legal structure as a tool that, with the backing of the U.S. government, can make it easier for General Motors and Chrysler to quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down so they can get back on their feet and onto a path to success; a tool that we can use, even as workers are staying on the job building cars that are being sold.
What I am not talking about is a process where a company is broken up, sold off, and no longer exists. And what I am not talking about is having a company stuck in court for years, unable to get out.
It is my hope that the steps I am announcing today will go a long way towards answering many of the questions people may have about the future of GM and Chrysler. But just in case there are still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can -- if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warrantee will be safe.
In fact, it will be safer than it's ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee.