The recent absence of General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Harry J. Pearce, who was diagnosed with leukemia last year, at two high-profile company activities again would seem to cast doubts about whether the 57-year-old executive can be considered a legitimate candidate to eventually succeed Chairman John F. Smith Jr. But GM President and Chief Operating Officer G. Richard Wagoner Jr., who is the other front runner for Mr. Smith's position, says Mr. Pearce remains active in company business. ...

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