GM's Henderson possible interim chief after Wagoner

Monday, 30 March 2009, 05:01 Hrs
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New York: Frederick "Fritz" Henderson, second in command at beleaguered General Motors Corp (GM), is the likely candidate to take over the firm amidst reports that GM head Rick Wagoner has been asked to leave by the US government, media reports said.

Henderson, 50, the chief-operating-officer, is the likely replacement, at least on a temporary basis, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing people close to the situation. Henderson met members of the government panel overseeing the car industry bailout.

Wagoner, 56, who has headed GM since mid 2000, will resign as head of General Motors Corp under an agreement with the government to continue bailing out the struggling carmaker, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.

Wagoner's decision comes ahead of a major announcement Monday by President Barack Obama on the future of the US car industry, which has seen sales plummet more than 35 percent amid the country's worst recession in decades.

Obama is expected to lay out the terms for continued government support of GM and Chrysler LLC. GM has already received $13.5 billion and Chrysler $4 billion in emergency loans.

GM. has lost more than $80 billion in the last four years as Asian competitors steadily made inroads into the once-dominant US car industry. GM last year lost its title as world's largest carmaker to Japan's Toyota Motor Corp.

Earlier Sunday, Obama said GM and Chrysler have failed to reach the restructuring goals they had pledged to make by Tuesday and must do more to receive added government bail-out money.

"They're not there yet," Obama told the CBS Sunday morning show, Face the Nation.

After the $17.4 billion in bail-outs granted the two companies under former president George W. Bush's administration, additional money is dependent on the two companies reaching definite goals by the coming week on the way to becoming financially viable.

GM, the country's largest carmaker, and Chrysler, the third largest, have said they could need more than $20 billion in additional aid. Ford Motor Co, the country's second largest producer, has not taken any bail-out money.

Although Obama has said he hopes bankruptcy proceedings can be avoided, he has not ruled it out as a possibility.
Source: IANS
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