It is probably best just to play this down the middle and let you read the excerpt from American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA by Ed Whitacre. The author, you'll remember, was the former AT&T CEO who came out of retirement to take the position of chairman at General Motors in June of 2009. Six months later, he took the role of CEO, and on September 1, 2010 he was replaced by current CEO Dan Akerson and gave up the chairmanship at the end of that year.
To read the excerpt, you're going to have to get past the Fortune headline "How Ed Whitacre brought GM back from the brink." Now, Whitacre didn't choose that headline, and since we're playing this down the middle, we can't say that the headline isn't the only eyebrow-raising line in the piece – but we won't charge it to Whitacre's account. However, when it takes five years to develop a single car, and redesigning a taillight for a midcycle refresh might take a year, we're not sure how anyone can reinvent a global automaker in just nine-months as CEO. Perhaps we should ask Ford boss Alan Mullaly about that timeframe.

To the point, the book will be out on February 12 – you can pre-order it on Amazon now – and Whitacre's explanation of how Fritz Henderson was let go, how he got the CEO position and how Akerson came to follow will be sure to get enthusiasts intrigued in what else the complete tome might say. All you've got to do is follow the link to read it.


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  • 30 Comments
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whitacre hired Dan "Captain Queeg" Akerson because he was one of his buddies from the telecom business. The True Believers at GM (the ones who've kept the Corvette going for 60 years despite the bean counters, and have led Cadillac's renaissance) will rejoice when Akerson is gone.
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dukeisduke
        We will throw a kegger (offsite of course)!
      AngeloD
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ed Whitacre admitted that he wasn\'t a \"car guy\" and proved it by canning Henderson in favor of the proven incompetence of Lt. Dan. The ongoing disaster of Lt. Dan\'s new Malibu proves how badly Whitacre screwed up.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      How one man manages to make millions while failing his way upward. Who wouldn't want to read his book?
      Steven Haas
      • 1 Year Ago
      Unbelievable... after a couple of months in place, the high-paid members of the board of GM couldn't be bothered to learn a little bit about the car business so that they could understand a Powerpoint presentation? And they blamed the CEO for being too much of a "car guy" and using too much jargon? What a bunch of incompetent morons. Bottom line is that GM is still a mess. I think it may be a bit premature for this guy to take much credit for anything. Shame they couldn't afford to hire a decent CEO with only a $2 Million/year salary budget.
      6speed
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would read this book, simply to find out how the H*LL Akerson got the CEO job. What an absolute joke that guy is.
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @6speed
        Whitacre too! He is a moron. Really likes to toot his own horn for riding out things Wagoner and Henderson set in motion.
      mapoftazifosho
      • 1 Year Ago
      TURD.
      Dr.Nick
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wasn't Fritz all ready to sell Opel? Woulda, coulda, shoulda GM.
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dr.Nick
        He would have made GM $1.3 billion a year by not burning that cash in the giant burn barrel that is Opel had he sold them off. I wish they would have sold them off...
      Randy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Step 1 get bailed out Step 2 file bankrupcy Step 3 issue new stock to people who are already rich at a discount Step 4 initiate IPO Step 5 sell shares at a premium to average people Step 6 watch the stock price drop Step 7 call it a success even when you have nothing to be proud about Step 8 write a book about it and hope it sells 100th the copies about Fords real turnaround
      jfa1177
      • 1 Year Ago
      So there was really no reason why the accidental tourinst is the new CEO. GM is still as dysfunctional as ever with no sign of it changing. Sheesh, this and the debacle over the availabilty of the Vette over seas sure doesn\'t paint a rosy picture of GM management. Sorry but I have no faith in GM.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Diz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Company becomes bloated, soft and slow. Company management cries to federal government - gets billions. Company management claims its brilliance at managing. Company CEO writes book telling the world of his brilliance. Company starts to fail. Repeat cycle.
        Sir Duke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Diz
        If you are going to tell a story, tell the ENTIRE story. Picking and choosing your sequence of facts and events because it suits your narrative makes you a DISHONEST person. GM had monumental problems, bad management was the top of the list. Bad business model was a close second. However, the state of the economy was the fire starter. In a better economy, GM would have / could have muddled through the mess that they created. Chrysler was going to fail, that was a given. Cerberus wanted them to fail. Then the would have broken up the company and sell off the pieces (Jeep, Viper, Mopar etc.). Had the financial crisis hit 12 months earlier, Ford would have been standing exactly where GM was. Actually Ford was in even worse shape than GM. Ford had no product to speak of, and none of its adopted children (Aston Martin, Jaguar, Range Rover or Volvo) were bringing in any money. If you add in Mercury, they got rid of as many brands as GM did. Only god knows why Lincoln is still with us. While you made some valid arguments, telling half the story, makes you as douchy as the douches in Congress trying to crash the country's economy.
          Josh
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Sir Duke
          O and Cerberus didnt want anything to fail; they just didn't know anything about the car business.
          merlot066
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Sir Duke
          You can't really blame the economy for GM's problem. They lost $10 Billion in 2005 and performed worse than even the most pessimistic analysts expected quarter after quarter. Ford had plenty of product within their core. They had the F-series, Explorer, and Escape cash cows. The Panthers and Ranger tooling were long paid off and printing money. The 2005 Mustang was a hit. The Fusion and Edge came in 2006. The Focus was still decent until its mediocre redesign in 2008. GM didn't have half the product Ford had and they had twice the management and brand overhead (kind of like today). They couldn't have lasted much longer bleeding money the way they were, recession or not.
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Diz
        Maybe there will be a Lutz, Whitacre, and Akerson box set someday???
      bluemoonric
      • 1 Year Ago
      I bet Akerson still doesn't like GM cars. He has not done anything to make them better.
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