A fond remembrance on the occasion of Rick Wagoner’s exit from GM

In late 2001 I went to Detroit to write an article for CIO Magazine about GM’s various IT and e-commerce initiatives. I got 20 minutes to interview Rick Wagoner.

Waiting in the lobby of the executive suite high up in the Renaissance Center, I eventually realized that the GM public relations person I was with, Chris, had never met Wagoner before. I think he was more nervous than I was.

I had of course done my homework. Wagoner came out and introduced himself very cordially. Hit me as an extremely likeable and unpretentious person. As we walked up the steps, I said “So I see from my reading that you are a Duke man.”

Recall that in 2001, UNC basketball was suffering through the darkest of the Doherty years. I can hardly describe the glee with which Wagoner pounced after discovering my alma mater.

Afterwards, PR Chris said, “I can’t believe you got 20 minutes with Wagoner and spent the first ten talking hoops.”


7 thoughts on “A fond remembrance on the occasion of Rick Wagoner’s exit from GM

  1. College basketball is a pox upon the Nation. Clearly, it is responsible for the failure of the US auto industry.

    Soon, however, it will be done, and I can go back to watching poker and billiards on ESPN2.

  2. We see through your hidden agenda. A not-so-subtle reminder of “My team is in the Final Four. Yours isn’t.” (Now I could brag that Baylor is in the NIT semi-finals. But it’s just not the same.)

    And, nice story.

  3. LEP: My team is in the Final Four. Yours isn’t.*

    The article seems to have not survived cio.com’s most recent platform transition. As I recall it was a swooning paean about the brilliance of GM and how it would conquer the world in short order.

    Well not completely but it’s funnier that way. Actually the really funny thing about dealing with a company of that size is that in the fact-checking process they squawked at a few items in the story, saying “We can’t confirm that – where’d you get THAT number?” And of course it was a number they themselves had given me earlier.

    *I don’t actually usually do that b/c I really don’t wanna hear it in the years when UNC isn’t there. That golden rule thing. :)

  4. Don’t get me started on the parallels among GM, Waggoner’s career and the Duke basketball program.

  5. Hm. Get started! I don’t follow exactly. I’m not among those who find Duke a fallen star – their Final Four run in the 90s was just ridiculous and nobody SHOULD be able to sustain that. They’re going to be killer again next year.

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