Washington Post Names Former GM Chief Rick Wagoner to Publisher's Board

Washington Post Co. elected Rick Wagoner, the former General Motors Co. chief who was pushed out after 32 years at the automaker, to its board, boosting the number of directors to 11.

The publisher of the Washington Post is weighing bids for its Newsweek magazine, which it announced it wanted to sell last month, and has trimmed jobs and sections to help cope with plunging advertising sales.

Wagoner, 57, was forced out as GM chief executive officer in March 2009 by the Obama administration in the run up to the Detroit automaker’s bankruptcy filing. He retired officially Aug. 1 after running the company for more than eight years.

A former Duke University freshman basketball player, who received an MBA from Harvard University, Wagoner joined GM in the treasurer’s office. He also ran the company’s operations in Brazil and served as chief financial officer over the course of his career.

“We’re fortunate to have someone who has run one of the largest companies -- and largest advertisers -- in the world, has extensive international experience and financial expertise join our board,” Washington Post Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Donald Graham said in an e-mailed statement.

Washington Post’s other directors include investor Warren Buffett, IAC/InterActiveCorp. CEO Barry Diller, former Xerox Corp. CEO Anne Mulcahy and Melinda Gates, co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and wife of Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates.

Washington Post is considering at least four bids for Newsweek magazine, the money-losing publication it has owned since 1961. Advertising sales plunged 39 percent at the magazine last year to $70.3 million, according to documents sent to prospective buyers.

Washington Post gained $10.18, or 2.3 percent, to $449.64 at 4:05 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have risen 2.3 percent this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Bensinger in New York at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net

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