• Feb 1, 2010
The more things change, the more... you know what we're trying to say. Just last week, longtime AT&T guru and then interim General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre was able to ditch that pesky 'interim' modifier and became the king of the hill at GM. Of course, that was last week. This week we're getting reports that Ed Whitacre (who, curiously enough, was the president of the Boy Scouts of America from 1998-2000) will be out of the RenCen in two to three years.

Why? Well, Whitacre was born in 1941, so he'll be into his seventies by then and ready to move to his cattle ranch in Montana (or wherever it is multi-millionaire alpha males go to retire). Also, the General Motors board only named him the permanent CEO when a search for someone to step in and take the job from Whitacre came up fruitless. The search yielded no one qualified that was willing to work for the pay restrictions put in place by Uncle Sam as a result of GM's Chapter 11 bailout.

Also, and you need to read between the lines for this one, Detroit for the most part dislikes and distrusts outsiders. Hence the fact that they are looking internally for a Whitacre replacement. Strange when you consider how much wood former Boeing-man and total Detroit outsider Alan Mulally's been chopping over at surging Ford. Still, "Whitacre and the board want the winning candidate to emerge from a new corporate culture based on decision-making and accountability." Well, if that's all it takes...

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req. | Image Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wait a minute, what happened to the daily Volt story?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Truth about Cars? who reads that site.. :)

        IMHO, Autoblog > TTAC, leftlane, torque report, etc..
        • 4 Years Ago
        What for? you got the TTAC story of the day instead, courtesy of JL.

        BTW, I went to TTAC the other day just to get a feel of the mood after the Toyota debacle. Unsurprisingly, the articles covering the story are tedious apologies that get less than 10 replies on average. TTAC has become a bore even for the Toyonda employees that once flocked in there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        JL is a TTAC refugee.
        He retains the mindset too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      2-3 years is a lifetime in the car business - especially in these times. I could easily see this changing and Whitacre staying on for another 2 or 3 years beyond that.

      Then again, from everything that I have read, it seems that Whitacre has been trying to promote many of the younger executives (~40 year olds) within GM (many of whom might have been overshadowed by "lifers" many years their senior - 50-60 years olds).

      I think from those people Whitacre might be trying to cull a successor.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Being CEO of GM ain't exactly working for "charity". The fact that no one wants the job just underscores part of the problem. It' called GREED. That's the underlying reason our economy is in the mess it's in. Greedy CEOs and Wall Street execs were so focused on bonuses that they ran their businesses with excessive risk.
      When they crash, the taxpayers are expected to bail them out, but they're still not willing to adust their expectations. Until these attitudes are adjusted neither Detroit problems nor Wall Street's will be solved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're right, I think we need a fundamental shift in this country to Communism. You're among the most talented people in the world at your chosen profession? CONGRATS!!! We have a wonderful position for you earn the same as everyone else.

        From each, according to their ability...to each, according to their need, right? Otherwise, we're just being greedy!
      • 4 Years Ago
      "he'll be into his seventies by then and ready to move to his cattle ranch in Montana" - to hunt the world's most dangerous game: man
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah, that'll work... pick the 'new' CEO from the same, unchanged, archaic, inbred, out-of-touch-with-reality culture that produced the crappy products, ridiculous policies, and stupid ideas that got GM in this giant fiasco in the first place...

      #gmfailagain
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The search yielded no one qualified that was willing to work for the pay restrictions put in place by Uncle Sam..."

      Case against executive pay and bonus regulation by gov't.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oddly, I can't foresee any good coming out of using another "insider".
        • 4 Years Ago
        Isn't Whitacre still Chairman of the Board of Directors of GM? Being CEO is having fun b/c he essentially only really has to answer to himself (and the Obama Admin Auto Task Force). So OK, he'll quickly give up being CEO in as many as 3 years....but he'll still be Chairman.

        Perhaps in 2-3 years, GM will be able to offer a much higher salary base to a new CEO (figurehead). Whitacre is stepping in as CEO b/c they find a person hungry enough (read stupid) to be CEO of GM at this point in their financial history, and agree to take responsibility for any future money issues.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're reading way too much into this. Ed is bringing about change to GM (just look at all the heads that have rolled since he took over). It would be pointless to do re-organize, adopt a new philosophy, etc etc just to have a new CEO come in 2 years who is going to tear that all apart. A better strategy would be for Ed to groom someone to follow in his footsteps. Someone who is already on board with the changes Ed is making. Maybe even someone Ed hired.

        A good example would be the new CFO, Chris Liddell from Microsoft. I think you'd be hard pressed to call him a "Detroit insider" or to characterize his promotion to CEO as GM continuing with it's old ways.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wait....you mean the brightest and most talented businessmen in the country didn't LEAP at the opportunity to work for charity at GM instead of maximizing their earning potential elsewhere??

      What the heck is this crazy world coming to?!
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