A letter from Rick Wagoner

March 30, 2009, 3:03 PM UTC

wagonerDear Uncle Larry and Aunt Bea,

It’s been a hard weekend, which is the only excuse I have for not answering your e-mail sooner. I’m sure the May 9th date will work out fine for the barbecue. I don’t have anything planned for that week, or the week before. Or the week after, for that matter, although I do have a couple of interviews for excellent management positions in a number of very attractive companies, none of which have anything to do with cars I’m happy to say. I’ve just about had enough of the automobile business, I can tell you that!

You’re right, though. That phone call from Mr. Ratner was a little tough to take. I remember Steve when he was a young reporter for the New York Times, and now he’s, like, the big boss of everybody I know. It’s kind of creepy, if you ask me. You’re sitting there with a nice plate of ham and eggs on a weekend morning and there’s this fellow on the telephone telling you that you’ve been fired. It was weird. Kind of a take-it-or-leave-it thing. Like, either I leave or the company doesn’t get the $16 billion. Talk about a no-brainer. Not that I didn’t think about it for a few minutes.

My first reaction was to run through all the good friends and allies I’ve built up in the company and the industry after all my years of service, and wonder what kind of push-back they were going to make on my behalf. That didn’t take long. Then I said okay. Mr. Ratner was very nice about it, by the way. I didn’t envy him the job. You can just imagine the conversation he had with Mr. Obama when they decided to take me out. “Have Tim do it,” says Mr. Ratner. “No,” says Mr. Obama, “Tim’s very busy” and so forth.

I think it’s very nice of you, Larry, to offer me such a key slot in your furniture store. I’m thinking it over very seriously, of course. I don’t know a lot about that business. But you know what they say. Management is management whatever kind of business you’re in. The capabilities you pick up in one industry are easily transferred to others once you master the basics of their operations. And my years at GM have certainly allowed me to develop a world-class skill set.

One thing is for sure. I’m going to need something. I asked Mr. Ratner what kind of severance package I could expect after all my years of service. I think he was about to answer when his cell phone must have given out. I’ll be getting back to them about that later, but I have a bad feeling about it for some reason.

Anyhow, say hello to the cousins and give an extra biscuit to Fluffy for me. And keep that fold out couch ready for me. I might need it!

Luv ya,