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OUTSIDE DIRECTORS PRESS FOR OUSTER OF GM LEADER

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The outside directors of the General Motors Corp. are trying to get former GM Chairman Roger B. Smith to resign from the board, a published report said Friday.

The Wall Street Journal said the outside, or non-employee, directors are also pushing for removal of Vice Chairman Robert J. Schultz.The report comes just three days in advance of a pivotal GM board meeting Monday in New York.

The world's biggest automaker has been roiled by boardroom dissension in recent weeks that led to GM Chairman Robert Stempel's decision earlier this week to tender his resignation, effective when a replacement is named.

The outside directors, led by former Procter & Gamble Chairman John Smale, were reportedly pushing for Stempel's removal.

Adding to the recent turmoil, GM reported Thursday it lost $752.9 million in the third quarter. The board is reportedly impatient with the progress GM has been making in paring its operations to return to profitability.

The Journal, citing unidentified sources close to the situation, said some directors want to make a clean break with GM's past in pushing for removal of Smith and Schultz.