Where were GM’s directors?

March 30, 2009

Today, all eyes are on General Motor’s Rick Wagoner, who is being forced out as CEO by President Obama’s Auto Task Force. While Kent Kresa, a GM board member since 2003 and the former Chairman of Northrup Grumman (NOC) is said to be replacing Wagoner as interim chairman, the WSJ is also reporting that the Auto Task Force plans to “replace the majority of its directors”, though the President didn’t mention the directors, um, directly, in his just-concluded press conference.

Let’s hope that replacing them is part of the solution. While GM’s directors all have impressive resumes — there’s a former Senator (Erskine Bowles) and several former top executives of major corporations: John H. Bryan, the former Chairman and CEO of SaraLee, Eckhard Pfeiffer, the former CEO of Compaq, and George M.C. Fisher, the former Chairman and CEO Eastman Kodak) to name a few — they seem to be missing what Former President George H.W. Bush called “that vision thing.”

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the lot of them from collecting hefty fees from GM, even as recently as last year when GM was struggling for its very survival. The lowest paid — with the exception of E. Neville Isdell, who only joined the board this past summer — made just under $200K. Remember that being a board member is a part-time job, as evidenced by the fact that most of these folks sit on several other boards or hold seemingly responsible full-time jobs that presumably give them very little free time to think about remaking GM. Hopefully, that will change very soon.

Here’s a link to a related story that I did for ABC News’ Investigative unit.

Image source: Associated Press

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