November 24, 2008— -- General Motors said today that its CEO Rick Wagoner will not be flying on the company's private jet when he returns to Washington next week for more hearings on the possible $25 billion bailout for the troubled auto industry.
Just last week, after a flurry of criticism following an ABC News report that the CEOs of the big three car companies flew on private jets to seek public funding, GM announced that it would put two out of the five private jets it leases out of service. But even last Friday the company was saying that Wagoner and the other two top executives at GM will continue to fly private for all business and personal travel because of a stipulation by the board of directors.
Today, however, a company spokesperson said, "We've gotten the message," and that Wagoner would not return to Washington on the corporate jet. The decision was first reported by the Detroit News.
GM spokesperson Tom Wilkinson would not elaborate on Wagoner's travel plans nor would he say whether or not this was a board decision or Wagoner's.
The ABC News investigation revealed that the top three automakers have together spent several hundred million dollars to buy, maintain, and operate a fleet of top-of-the-line private jets for their top executives.
Just how the CEOs of Ford and Chrysler will get to Capitol Hill next week remains unclear. A spokesperson for Ford was not immediately available for comment.
A spokesperson for Chrysler said the company will not divulge the travel itinerary of its CEO.
"As far as how Mr. Nardelli would travel to Washington or anywhere else, the company does not discuss that information as a matter of security," said Chrysler spokesperson Ed Garsten.