New GM Chairman Edward Whitacre Jr. is "not a car guy"

New GM Chairman Edward Whitacre Jr. is "not a car guy"
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Edward Whitacre Jr.

“I don’t know anything about cars.”

Those were the words of newly-appointed General Motors Chairman Edward Whitacre, Jr. when asked about the challenges he’s facing, charged with infusing some new life into General Motors.

Hardly comforting, don’t you think?

To be fair to the man, it’s not as if he’s a fish out of water in the business world. After all, he’s solely responsible for elevating the status of AT&T as a telecommunications giant. So maybe he doesn’t know the ins-and-outs of the auto industry, but judging from his track record, we ought to cut him some slack and see if he can do for GM what he has already done for AT&T. When you talk to Mr. Whitacre, the newly appointed GM Chairman doesn’t see his lack of knowledge on cars as a burden, but – as expected – a challenge.

"A business is a business, and I think I can learn about cars. I’m not that old, and I think the business principles are the same."

Continued after the jump.

The former AT&T chief has at least one former GM bigwig at his side. Jim Hall, a former GM engineer and now a 2953 Analytics principal said: "He was one of the guys who helped create a new AT&T that wasn’t so dependent on land-line phone service. T here’s a parallel with General Motors. GM is not now about just making cars. It’s about re-creating itself as a 21st-century car company. They have to have somebody at the top that understands they have to make a new GM."

For the sake of General Motors, let’s just hope that Edward Whitacre, Jr. is up to the task. Judging from his track record, it’s safe to say that he just might be the right man for the job.

Source: Autoblog

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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  (116) posted on 06.14.2009

That is right! we can;t just judge the man until we see how what he can do for the GMC. It may not be AT&T but he will not be in the post if he is not capable to do it

  (289) posted on 06.14.2009

That sure is not the issue. If he is not a car guy, it does ont really matter, as he will not be making the designs or road testing one but making significant decisions for the business to survive!

  (137) posted on 06.14.2009

I think when one says “I don’t know anything about cars.” it do not mean he does not know how to do business with cars.

  (231) posted on 06.14.2009

That is true, coz if the point is one must be a car expert to run the business, then, I must say that it must be Topspeed TopGear or Autoblog afficionados getting hired to run big companies like GMC!

  (318) posted on 06.14.2009

It would be bias to say that General Motors Chairman Edward Whitacre, Jr would fail because he does nto know about cars. Remember that he is not the only one working for the company besides his purpose is to pull out an excellent business plan under his sleeves and that is more important

  (314) posted on 06.13.2009

That is right! we can only be truly good in doing business if we are able to translate our efforts in different disciplines

  (421) posted on 06.13.2009

I guess, it is an advantage to have one with car background as the exec.But we can never generalize that only those who have the so-called knowledge of cars can run the bussiness.

  (177) posted on 06.13.2009

I don’t think Edward Whitacre, Jr would be a very good chairperson for GM. For one to save a car company, that person should have passion for cars.

  (183) posted on 06.13.2009

Given his credentials, I’m sure that he would be able to keep and save GM from bankruptcy. But I hope that it would not compromise the quality of cars by compromising it features.

BMWM6  (488) posted on 06.12.2009

well for shure he is gonna keep big names like the the corvette and camaro but can he bring back pontiac

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