Former General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre has served up a few revelations about his time at the automaker in his new memoir, American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA. Among the choice tidbits is word that in August of 2009, Whitacre says he blocked a plan that would have seen GM workers abandon their downtown Detroit Renaissance Center global headquarters just one week before the move was to be set in action. The whole operation was to be relocated to Warren, which would have allowed GM to either lease or sell the Ren Cen outright. Oddly enough, GM apparently planned to keep the company's CEO and a few others on the premises, which would have put management some 30 minutes away from the rest of the company.

Whitacre says the move would have cost around $100 million to implement. The city of Detroit eventually offered GM substantial tax incentives to stay put, and the automaker announced its plans to stay in the Ren Cen in August of 2010.

The memoir also touches on Whitacre's successor, Dan Akerson. Whitacre says Akerson called GM "one of the worst companies he'd come across in his entire life" and notes that he admitted he didn't like GM vehicles.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      "GM apparently planned to keep the company's CEO and a few others on the premises, which would have put management some 30 minutes away from the rest of the company." That sounds like the old GM I know.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Jake
      • 2 Years Ago
      This was all a negotiation tactic to get Detroit to renew the tax incentives. The current tax structure in Detroit does very little to attract businesses or residents.
      Dark Gnat
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM needs to have "car people" in charge. Too many bean counters and clueless managers. They absolutely can make great cars when their designers and engineers are allowed to do their jobs. Instead, the management wants every car to be everything, resulting in vehicles that are average. They have made progress, but they still need to focus less on how cars fit in their lineup and more on cars that kill the competition.
        Mark Collins
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dark Gnat
        I signed on to put nearly this exact same comment. GM keeps recruiting AT&Ts has-beens or don't-wants, is there really any surprise as to why this company is making such bland vehicles. All other manufacturers are working to progress while GM is seemingly trying their best to bring back the Malaise Era garbage. Pretty soon GM is going to be struggling to keep up with Chryslers quality and ideas and I never thought I'd see anything worse than a modern day Chrysler product.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why did he have to leave, and why did the guy to replace him have to be so bad!?
      CruzControl
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM stands in its own way. Too many damn chiefs, and not enough Indians...It's a pity the CEO talked so dirty about the company he now runs...I've never been a big fan of the old general anyway.
      GoSpeedRacerGo
      • 2 Years Ago
      From the Det News article: Whitacre — who replaced nearly all of the top officers in the company during his tenure — has some advice for his old company. "GM still has a lot of fat that needs to be cut out," Whitacre wrote. Another revelation along the lines of "water is wet".
      Brodz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Who does like GM vehicles?
      Bryant Keith
      • 2 Years Ago
      how'd that work for ya?
      bouljf
      • 2 Years Ago
      Should we understand that he reversed the decision 1 week before the move was to take place? I can't imagine the penalties one would have to pay to cancel a lease of this size, per-arranged movers, new furniture, etc... All things that would require ironclad contracts well before that 1 week warning. It's great to save $100 million but if it costs shareholders $50 million to stay put and lose the possibility of selling a major asset I'm not convinced it was the best move.
        otis
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bouljf
        It doesn't say they were going to move in a week. It says the plan would be set into action in a week. The company would likely have begun seeking a longterm headquarters and moving arrangements at the start of that week. Moving an office of that magnitude would require months of legwork.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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