• Mar 8, 2010
When U.S. domestic automakers were commuting back and forth between Detroit and Washington while begging for government funds in the fall of 2008, a big deal was made of the fact that their CEOs were traveling in private jets instead of driving company vehicles. The backlash from JetGate was substantial, as each automaker quickly ended the use of expensive airfare for corporate travel and signed on with less pricey charter services. But while the private jet became taboo for auto executives, other industrial magnates kept their jets, including former AT&T CEO and current General Motors top boss Ed Whitacre, Jr.

In fact, The Detroit News reports that Big Ed's retirement package from AT&T includes 10 monthly hours of access to a private plane. The pricey perk reportedly costs the telecommunications giant about $20,000 per month and Whitacre can use the jet for for whatever he wants. A spokesperson for GM says he doesn't use the jet for GM business, which makes sense given the fact that 10 hours only allows for about two round trips to Whitacre's San Antonio, Texas home. Whitacre's use of an AT&T jet may actually help GM a bit given the fact that many automakers pay for CEO travel to and from their out-of-state homes. In 2008, for example, Ford reportedly paid a whopping $344,109 for CEO Alan Mulally's non work-related travel expenses.

Lifetime use of a private jet is a pretty cool perk, but it's not Whitacre's only big ticket retirement item, either. He reportedly also gets $26,000 per year for a new car as well. We're thinking Whitacre also has access to any vehicle in the GM portfolio, so chances are that perk isn't being fully utilized right now. Unless, of course, Big Ed is actually paying for his GM vehicles. And why not? It's not like the new car is coming out of his pockets.

[Source: The Detroit News | Source Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Agreed,this is a non-issue. It is AT & T who is paying for this, not GM. So no need to bring all that stuff about bailouts and tax payer money into this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a non story/issue. The guy was in-charge of a major fortune 500 company, received a retirement package commensurate to a Chief Executive, and is living accordingly.

      All that's here is fodder for the class warfare arguments. I will never have a job that will give me a private jet but I'm not going to bash anyone who has achieved that measure of success in their career. Regardless of the Capitalist hate in today's society, I'm glad people can still work their way to the top and be rewarded accordingly.
      marc
      • 4 Years Ago
      the fix was simple and i cant believe the pres or no one else saw it,the banks gm, aig etc should have been allowed to fail,out of the ashes new banks would have started unrecognized auto execs would have started their own car companies, and we would have come back stronger,its the american way, and the ones who would have suffered are the ones who started all this,then the pres. could have given the middle class a huge tax break and we would have been more vibrant than ever,all that with no gov. spending,to easy!
      • 4 Years Ago
      So its an AT&T jet...does that mean it "drops out" of the sky randomly? ;)
      • 4 Years Ago
      unions the problem?? all of europe is unionized as is alot of japan, tiwan australia etc , unions created the middle class you haters enjoy- just ask your parents, a bad trade deal with china is the problem that was done by mickey mouse kantor for bill clinton, in case you havent noticed, the korean , japaneese, german car companies pay near union wage andbenefits, the only difference is pensions and thank got for them or thewre would be millions and millions of poor retired people in america
      • 4 Years Ago
      ....but, but, but it's the Unions that are making Corporate America uncompetitive!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I fail to see the issue here. This isn't a GM perk and he made a deal with AT&T to get these services for life. Was there an astersk that said he couldn't use them to travel for businses? If so, then he's going to have to pay it back. If not, then this isn't news.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Everyone is to blame.

        While I'm glad GM is still around, this is one of the effects of the bailout (not naming any presidents here... both were responsible, as were the many before who set bad precedents by bailing out other companies and industries.

        Anyway, the point is, it allows stuff like this to continue. If the market took its wrath out, you wouldn't be seeing stuff like this right now. Reckless business practices generally eventually get punished by madam free hand (hmm... that sounded a little dirty?)
        • 4 Years Ago
        500 years from now when History majors are studying the rise and fall of the American empire, things like this will make up the bullet points.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good ol' boys club; whitacre perfectly fits in with the other fat cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ahh poop. You are correct, dave. I misread the article.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is there really nothing else to talk about? this was hardly even a story. must be really slow today
        • 4 Years Ago
        I know. But somehow, someway, someone will turn it into a reason to post some hate for the D3, Obama, healthcare or say that this negates the Toyota scandal.
      • 4 Years Ago
      THIS IS JUST ANOTHER NON-STORY.
      rhinnovation
      • 4 Years Ago
      Body hell..... over in europe the IRI would not let that go by. A quick audit of AT&T and GM accounts would leave those individuals to pay a minimum of 50% of the "services" as a income in kind..............
      • 4 Years Ago
      Non issue, dude deserves it or not, what do I know? Now bring on more Toyota bashing!
      rhinnovation
      • 4 Years Ago
      Body hell..... over in europe the IRS would not let that go by. A
      quick audit of AT&T and GM accounts would leave those individuals to
      pay a minimum of 50% of the "services" as a income in
      kind..............
        • 4 Years Ago
        @rhinnovation
        Reimbursed corporate jet travel of this nature is considered income, and thus, taxable. I'd imagine Whitacre's tax bracket is approaching 50% marginal rates.
      • 4 Years Ago
      looks like petty theft to me , ya can't buy much of a car with 26,000 dollars
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