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A new General Motors needs new leadership. So following the replacement of former CEO Rick Wagoner with Fritz Henderson, the General has announced its new incoming chairman: Edward E. Whitacre, Jr.
Whitacre is perhaps best known for his seventeen-year tenure as chairman and chief executive of AT&T, overseeing mergers and expansions that made AT&T the largest telecom company in America. He holds a degree in industrial engineering from Texas Tech, and also serves on the boards of ExxonMobil and BNSF Railway.

Whitacre will take over from interim chairman Kent Kresa once the bankruptcy proceedings wrap up and New GM is launched, at which point several of the current board members will remain, six will depart and a new crop of directors will join the board over which Whitacre will preside. Details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: General Motors | Image: Mark Wilson/Getty]

PRESS RELEASE

Edward Whitacre, Jr. to Become Chairman of New GM

Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., former chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc., will become chairman of the New GM when the company is launched later this summer, GM's interim Chairman Kent Kresa announced today. Kresa will continue to serve as interim chairman until the launch.

Whitacre and Kresa, along with current board members Philip A. Laskawy, Kathryn V. Marinello, Erroll B. Davis, Jr., E. Neville Isdell and President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick A. Henderson, will serve as the nucleus of the New GM board, providing management oversight and a continuing commitment to transparency and world-class standards of corporate governance.

The six other members of the current board will most likely retire no later than the approval of the sale of GM assets to the new entity. A selection process is currently underway for four more directors to serve on the board of the New GM. In addition, the Canadian government and the new UAW Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA) will each nominate one director, bringing the total number of New GM directors to 13.

Whitacre, 67, was chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc. and its predecessor companies from 1990 to 2007. During his tenure, which began with Southwestern Bell, Whitacre led the company through a series of mergers and acquisitions--including that of AT&T in 2005--to create the nation's largest provider of local, long distance and wireless services. He serves on the boards of ExxonMobil Corporation and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation and holds a degree in industrial engineering from Texas Technological University.

"The appointment of Ed Whitacre as chairman represents a very auspicious beginning for the New GM," said Kresa. "We look forward to working with him to complete the reinvention of GM and maximize the enormous potential of this new enterprise."

"I am honored to be able to serve GM at this critical juncture and take part in its reinvention," said Whitacre.

General Motors Corp., one of the world's largest automakers, was founded in 1908, and today manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 235,000 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries. In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the U.S., followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.


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  • 46 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      A perfect fit for this, and the last administration:

      "On June 23, 2006, he and the CEO of BellSouth were brought in under the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee following the AT&T-BellSouth merger. Most questions to Whitacre were regarding possible customer information leaks to the NSA."

      "BusinessWeek reported that, though the CEO of one of the largest and most influential names in telecommunications and its surrounding technology, Whitacre did not use email or have a computer in his office."

      Naturally, they want someone with experience growing a company, but I would not be suprised that they picked someone who would play ball.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds like he's got a good background and Mullaly has shown that bringing in someone outside the auto industry can be a good thing. However, I wonder if having the chairman of GM also serve on the board of the world's largest oil company is a good idea.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That seems like a pretty big conflict of interest.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is a HUGE conflict of interest. He must retire from ExxonMobil's board or this would get real ugly. Expect lawsuits from EV contingents or "Who killed the electric car V2" in no time if he stays on that board...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh, this will turn out good.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jobs is a god. But running an automobile company is no doubt completely different than anything he has ever done.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sure, car, cell phones, all the same. Either a dealers screws you or you get screwed by "roaming rates" or Internet access rates.

        BTW i still think that Steve Jobs should have been hired to run GM.

      • 5 Years Ago

      I am promoting an event called Test Drive America as a tangible way we can all contribute to the turnaround of this economy.

      I would love your support or suggestions on promoting this message and event.

      Please forward to anyone you feel has been impacted by this economy.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW--vyWE98U

      • 5 Years Ago
      What about Lee Iaccoca instead?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Did GM really pick this guy or Washington?

      It sad the question even needs asking but you never know anymore.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM picked him ... with Obama's "but I don't want to run any of this" approval, of course.



        • 5 Years Ago
        Washington fired Rick and others by decree. What do you think?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hi, welcome to your new job as Obama's stooge, er I mean chairman.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Another Old White Guy. WTF. Hey, I hear Jay Leno is available for the summer...ought to be enough time to turn GM around, or liquidate it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I would be cool with Leno taking over...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fantastic. It's okay to have a half white, half black president that nobody should make fun of, but "another old white guy" is somehow bad for GM be cause he is old and white?

        Some people have to realize that sometimes the best person for the job isn't the one that fulfills HR's "Diversity quota".
      • 5 Years Ago
      How good can this guy be if he is willing to accept the kind of salary that will be doled out by the new Executive Pay Czar?
      Welcome to USSA!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Kitko.. That is one of the biggest lies out of the socalized health care camps. Do you know why our infant mortality rate is lower? Because we consider more babys to be live births than they do in other countries. Because we will fight to keep the baby alive, and not consider it DOA.

        That my friend, keeps our mortality rate higher then many other countries.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mr. Oak. You apparently are only a surface level analyst. China is collapsing under it's own weight, it's human rights record is appalling and will most likely face a revolution, it's one of the most polluting nations in the world, cares nothing about it's citizens (as it still pushes the communist ideal that you work for the countries betterment, not your own), is torn apart by the current economic collapse and is built on a flimsy foundation of cheap knock offs and near slave labor. As soon as automation becomes cheaper and easier,(read soon with robotics advancements) China with it's lack of skilled and educated people will suffer a major blow.
        Oh, and tell me how it was when they used to hang people for stealing horses... I mean, if you remember it and all.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you artificially cap executives pay, you'll have trouble attracting the best candidates. No, it's not an absolute guarantee that companies will hire the best minds out there, but if a top exec is desired by more than one company, compensation is going to be a big part of his or her decision. These companies should never have been given tax money in the first place. You compound the error by allowing Washington to choose how much people in the private sector get paid.

        And if GM had been allowed to go into Chapter 11 like poorly structured companies used to do (Delta Airlines?) they probably would have made it. Chrysler had been running on fumes for years. Now neither of these companies are going to survive as profitable entities. At best, they'll be somewhat self-sustaining job banks that also make automobiles.

        Look to Amtrak for the future of GM/Chrysler.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd be willing to accept that pay. There's absolutely nothing wrong with capping executive salaries. That money that would have been spent on executives can go to paying us taxpayers back or reinvesting it back into the company to make it stronger and produce better product. If he's willing to accept the salary offered, good for him.
        • 5 Years Ago
        John: Since socialism is so bad, and capitalism is so good, how is it that the mother of all socialistcommunist countries (CHINA), is wiping her ass with the good ole cradle of capitalism (USA)?

        I don't endorse or decry either system, both have their merits, and both have their weaknesses. Looks to me like China has figured out what the optimal mix of Capitalist and Socialist programs are most effective.

        Oh!, maybe if like China we had lined up the folks responsible for the financial crisis and shot them all, capitalism just might work too. Just seems like the words capitalism and thievery have become synonyms, and none of the perps have been put to death. I remember back in the day, when men were hung for stealing a horse.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nimbus, executives are a dime a dozen. There's absolutely nothing magic about what they do. Yes, if there are multiple companies vying for the same exec, that person will probably follow the money. But someone else will just take their place. Most execs get where they are by scratching each others backs, by serving on each other's boards, and stepping on others. It's a self-perpetuating cycle to keep the "elite" in power.
        • 5 Years Ago
        MikeofLA: I was being tongue in cheek. On the human rights thing, the US lives in a glass house, be careful with those stones.

        I was DEAD serious about the firing squads though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        MikeofLA

        China and human rights is a tricky area, especially when everyone can say Guantanamo, US prison population, death penalty in random order.

        BTW, a new born has better chance to survive in Bejing than in Washington DC. In other words, US capital has worse record in new-born mortality than the Chinese capital while being the poster child of purely capitalist health care system.

        Don't mix politics and cars. If you do, loose all electronics and clothing because, chances are, 90% of stuff you have is made in China.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nothing in the text indicates that he knows anything about cars.

      Look, the young Toyoda races, and Honda's CEO participated in the development of NSX.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jeremy,

        Well put.

        Mullaly is no stranger to making "vehicles".

        And, working with engineering, unions, demanding customers, large organizations and technological change.

        Some dude from f-ing AT&T? Maybe they could've got somebody from P&G or Hilton.

        Couldn't they lure somebody from Toyota, Ford or even Airbus?

        This is thoroughly disappointing.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Mullaly may have not have come from the automotive industry, but he had a manufacturing background and knew how to sell a durable good, unlike Ed.
      • 5 Years Ago

      So .... another guy who knows how to make money when in business of making money.

      How about knowing how to make cars when in business of making cars?

      Thought so.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whitacre was CEO of SBC which took over AT&T. He then became CEO of the combined company, which was also called AT&T. So a lot of the crap that AT&T did with cutting features and domestic spying did not happen under his watch as CEO. That stuff happened under his predecessor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ok, fine. He did it under his control of SBC

        The sources said the NSA made clear that it was willing to pay for the cooperation. AT&T, which at the time was headed by C. Michael Armstrong, agreed to help the NSA. So did BellSouth, headed by F. Duane Ackerman; SBC, headed by Ed Whitacre; and Verizon, headed by Ivan Seidenberg.

        http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-10-nsa_x.htm
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, you're wrong. It was under Ed's watch. Mark Klien, the whistle blower that blew the cover on AT&T, worked in San Francisco at the former SBC building on Folsom Street. All this went down right as the SBC AT&T merger was happening in 2005 so everything was listed as AT&T, not SBC.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, you're wrong. Klein worked for AT&T until 2004, before Whitacre took over as CEO. The domestic spying in question took place under the "old AT&T". It did not come to light as an issue until SBC bought AT&T in 2005.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/07/AR2007110700006_pf.html

        also: "In San Francisco the "secret room" is Room 641A at 611 Folsom Street, the site of a large SBC phone building, three floors of which are occupied by AT&T.", http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/05/70908
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