The many GMs of General Motors

The many GMs of General Motors

First Rick Wagoner got the boot from the President of the USA on March 30; then Fritz Henderson reluctantly took the tangled reins for a few months of diabolical rumour and innuendo, and bankruptcy, with an 'interim' chairmanship held by Kent Kresa until a suitable sucker could be found.

Enter Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., who will take up the top spot after a seventeen-year tenure as chairman and CEO of AT&T - which saw it become the largest telco in the USA. 

He also has a bit of industry knowledge, with a degree in industrial engineering, and board time at ExxonMobil and BNSF Railway. And he's an all-American boy scout - literally, serving as national president of the Boy Scouts of America from 1998-2000.

Whitacre, along with Kresa, Philip Laskawy, Kathryn Marinello, Erroll Davis, Jr., and E. Neville Isdell, will join retained President and Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson as the 'nucleus of the New GM board'.

But will the New GM gestation be a smooth ride?

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

Edward Whitacre, Jr. to Become Chairman of New GM

Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., former chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc., will become chairman of the New GM when the company is launched later this summer, GM's interim Chairman Kent Kresa announced today. Kresa will continue to serve as interim chairman until the launch.

Whitacre and Kresa, along with current board members Philip A. Laskawy, Kathryn V. Marinello, Erroll B. Davis, Jr., E. Neville Isdell and President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick A. Henderson, will serve as the nucleus of the New GM board, providing management oversight and a continuing commitment to transparency and world-class standards of corporate governance.

The six other members of the current board will most likely retire no later than the approval of the sale of GM assets to the new entity. A selection process is currently underway for four more directors to serve on the board of the New GM. In addition, the Canadian government and the new UAW Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA) will each nominate one director, bringing the total number of New GM directors to 13.

Whitacre, 67, was chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc. and its predecessor companies from 1990 to 2007. During his tenure, which began with Southwestern Bell, Whitacre led the company through a series of mergers and acquisitions--including that of AT&T in 2005--to create the nation's largest provider of local, long distance and wireless services. He serves on the boards of ExxonMobil Corporation and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation and holds a degree in industrial engineering from Texas Technological University.

"The appointment of Ed Whitacre as chairman represents a very auspicious beginning for the New GM," said Kresa. "We look forward to working with him to complete the reinvention of GM and maximize the enormous potential of this new enterprise."

"I am honoured to be able to serve GM at this critical juncture and take part in its reinvention," said Whitacre.

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