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Ed Whitacre's Battle to Save GM from itself

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The 15 General Motors dealers who flew to Detroit last September for a dinner with GM management were not an easily rattled bunch. They had endured the worst auto sales slide in 25 years, as well as the bankruptcy of the iconic carmaker on which they had built their businesses. Only three months had passed since GM accepted a $50 billion federal bailout, announcing the retirement of four of its eight brands and the shutting down of 1,900 dealers—a third of its domestic retail network. These dealers were the survivors, some of the more prosperous people in their towns, and they wanted a little reassurance.

CEO Fritz Henderson gathered the group in a private conference room at the Westin Detroit Metro Airport and tried to demonstrate that he had a plan, according to an executive in the room who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to describe the dinner. Henderson announced that GM was going on the offensive with better models, new marketing, and a plan to remake its sclerotic corporate culture. Then he introduced the other GM boss in the room, the one the government had sent to keep an eye on the company

Read More: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_19/b4177048204431.htm


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The Bloomberg Businessweek article seems to hit the target regarding what GM needs to do and how to get it done.

For a little perspective on Whitacre's background/experience, folks might want to check out the history of the breakup of the "old" AT&T ordered in 1984 by (RIP) Federal Judge Greene after a 10 year antitrust dispute. .

To the extent that Whitacre was involved in management of what became Southwestern Bell (in 1984) and their eventual consolidation of most of what was the "old" AT&T into what is today's AT&T, Whitacre appears to be one of the executives that has the business experience and attitude to turn GM in the right direction.

He is an engineer. We can expect he undstands the numbers.

He is not a car-guy. The jury is deliberating on that part.


Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.


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