Roger B. Smith, the chairman of General Motors from 1981 to 1990 and the subject of Michael Moore's critical documentary Roger and Me, died yesterday in Detroit at 82. "He was a leader who knew that we have to accept change, understand change, and learn to make it work for us," said current GM CEO Rick Wagoner.
A GM employee for over 40 years, Smith led the auto giant while Japanese brands were gaining traction in the American market and presided over the launch of the Saturn brand. "Roger was truly a pioneer in the fast-moving global industry that we now take for granted," says Wagoner. In Roger and Me, Moore documented his attempts to interview Smith after GM's job cuts devastated his hometown, Flint, Mich. (Read more Roger Smith stories.)