GM's Wagoner Stepping Down

Updated from 12:33 a.m. EDT

Rick Wagoner's three-decade ride at General Motors ( GM) is coming to an end.

The chairman and CEO of the troubled Big Three automaker is stepping down immediately, according to published media reports.

Citing anonymous Obama administration sources, the Associated Press reported that Wagoner's resignation comes at the request of the White House.

The news comes as the administration is preparing to unveil Monday its plan for providing additional aid to the auto industry. The White House is expected to ask GM and Chrysler LLC to undergo significant restructuring in exchange for additional government loans.

Speaking in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" broadcast Sunday, President Obama said automakers need to do more to qualify for additional help. "They're not there yet," he said.

Obama also said, "We think we can have a successful U.S. auto industry. But it's got to be one that's realistically designed to weather this storm and to emerge at the other end much more lean, mean, and competitive than it currently is."

Two people familiar with the plan said Sunday that the Obama administration would give GM enough government aid to restructure over the next 60 days, while Chrysler will get up to $6 billion and 30 days to complete an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make details public.

Fritz Henderson, GM's president and chief operating officer, became the new CEO, a Treasury Department source said. Board member Kent Kresa, the former chairman and CEO of defense contractor Northrop Grumman ( NOC), will be interim chairman of the GM board.

One official said a majority of the GM board was expected to step down.

GM issued a statement Sunday saying that the company expects the administration to make an announcement about the automaker's restructuring soon but that "it would not be appropriate for us to speculate on the content of any announcement."

A person familiar with Chrysler's management said the company has been given no indication that the government will require any changes at the automaker, which has been led by former Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli since August 2007. The person also spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama's plan has not been made public.

Wagoner joined GM in 1977 after graduating from Harvard Business School. He became the company's president and CEO in June 2000 and was elected chairman May 1, 2003.

The company is struggling with a sharp decline in auto sales resulting from the worldwide economic slowdown and a burdensome cost structure. The Bush administration approved $13.4 billion in loans for GM in December, but the automaker has said it needs more aid.

GM shares closed Friday at $3.62, up 21 cents.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com. The AP contributed to this report.