For Wagoner, board appointment recalls his emergence at GM

Richard Johnson is managing editor of Automotive News.
What a week for the nation’s capital, with the arrival of two wunderkind — fireballer Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals and Rick Wagoner, the new member of the Washington Post Co.’s board of directors and once a dazzling young star himself.

Wagoner and The Washington Post? What’s that all about?

Well, I’m thinking the Post brings back some warm and cozy memories for General Motors’ former CEO.

The Post is not exactly a frontline news-breaker in the world of automotive news (lower caps). Politics are its game. But for a period in 1992, the Post was a veritable auto industry scoop machine.

In fact, a GM board rebellion that year was largely brought to light in the pages of the Post. The internal rumbling seemed to spark the management shake-up that, among other things, elevated the 39-year-old Wagoner from his job in Brazil to CFO of the corporation.

Overnight he was the fastest of GM’s fast-trackers. Who knows, without the Post's reporting, Wagoner may have never become CEO.