The firing of GM CEO Rick Wagoner by President Obama provides an object lesson for all CEOs: a CEO’s failure to combat green can only lead to disaster.
GM and the other car companies have thrived for the last 30 years, despite heavy union burdens, because of SUV sales — popular and high-margin products.
But SUV sales depended on cheap gas. Did any car CEO do anything to ensure cheap gas, say by promoting increased oil drilling and gasoline refining, and challenging greens that blocked those policies? No.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner didn’t call for more drilling until September 12, 2008 — two months after gasoline prices peaked last summer. By then, of course, it was all over for the SUV and car companies.
Ford CEO Bill Ford and Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli still haven’t figured out the need for cheap gas.