GM Korea launches a senior-management buyout program, under which its top executives may voluntarily leave the auto maker if they submit their applications by May 31, WardsAuto has learned.

Employees holding salaried positions at the senior manager level and above, including directors, managing directors and high executives, are eligible for the program.

“There are 600 eligible senior management people, but we do not know how many will apply for separation. We have no specific target in terms of numbers,” a spokesman says, adding GM Korea at no time will disclose how many employees will leave under the program.

“The program’s aim is to give the company more agility and vitality. It is also to make opportunities for the younger managers.”

Managers who opt to leave GM Korea will receive two full years of salary in advance, as well as high school and college tuition payments for their children, also for two years.

The pension programs of senior managers who elect to leave GM Korea will not be affected, as those programs are government-driven and are not discretionary.

The spokesman says the auto maker has no plan to recruit from outside to fill the vacancies, so the program effectively will cut the salaried workforce. But he adds the goal is not to reduce the size of the company.

Some analysts are not so sure the program is as voluntary as it is being billed, and instead may be a way for GM Korea to jettison some of its less-aggressive managers. The program would allow such managers to leave under good circumstances with money in their pocket, rather than wait for the axe to fall later.

GM Korea has about 6,000 salaried employees at its headquarters and four production locations in the country, 10% of whom are senior managers or higher. The pecking order runs upward from staff to assistant manager, manager, senior manager, director, managing director and specific executive posts above that rank.