By on December 11, 2009

You're no Alan Mulally, but you know how to deal with the press...
GM’s New Chairman and CEO, Ed Whitacre may not be talking to the press about his plans for the state-owned automaker, but he’s talking to someone. Reuters reports that Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, has already had a chat with GM’s chairman and CEO, Ed Whitacre. Mulally didn’t disclose what they talked about, but did mention his reasons as to why they had the chat. “You want to be supportive because we have a lot of industry issues that we work together,” Mulally said, “He’s reaching out just the way that I did when I came in.”

Mulally also mentioned how he reached out to Rick Wagoner (remember him?) when Mulally came aboard the good ship Ford. The report also goes on to say that in October, Steve Rattner said that Rick Wagoner had warned the administration against bringing in an outsider when they sought his resignation. Rattner bases this assertion on daily conversations between Wagoner and Mulally. Naturally, Mulally gets a bit hazy here. “I don’t remember it that way,” Mulally said. “I will say that when I arrived I reached out to all of the industry insiders, including Rick, and Rick was very very supportive.” Is this indicative of Alan Mulally’s “Work together” philosophy? Or was he trying to get a handle on the competition? I’m guessing the latter.

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25 Comments on “Ed Whitacre Is Talking To Someone...”


  • avatar
    mtymsi

    It is a fact that on various issues all or some of the automakers do work together. I don’t find anything unusual about any of these communications. Makes me laugh thinking about Red Ink Rick’s “don’t hire an outsider” rant. No Rick, we want an insider like you that’s fully capable of running what was once the world’s largest corp right into the ground. Plus Ford’s really not doing well at all with Mulally, more proof you’re right on target again Rick.  Rick’s acute business acumen will no doubt be studied by graduate business schools for decades, what not to do at the CEO level. He’s surely the new poster boy for that.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean23

      To be fair, Rick Wagoneer showed up to captain an already sinking ship. Like Dubai’s manmade island of fantastic hubris, he accepted a post where greed was king and corporate largess the norm. By the time he Ranger-spotlighted, GM was the 21st Century equivalent of the Ottoman Empire circe 1914; the “sick-man” of American automotive.

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Are there really any auto execs that have been labeled as doing a good job on this site?  It seems to me that it’s easy to criticize any leader when the cyclic nature of the auto industry takes a turn for the worse. 

    The downturns are inevitable and the blame is also obligatory at that time.  The worst part about the auto industry is that a cynic is always vindicated.  During a downturn, the negative message is very clear and apparent.  During an upturn the cynic  says “soon there will be a downturn and here’s why.”  And of course when the cyclic pattern emerges the cynic gets vindicated.
     
    I think several auto executives have actually done a great job in light of the difficult times; criticizing them all is convenient due to the state of their current earnings reports.  But sophomoric and rash judgments don’t show much critical thinking.
     
    The auto industry isn’t just comprised of some pedants in a room speaking trite comments about fuel economy or declaring whether or not a handful of people on the internet would buy a particular car. 

    Instead many people have to be unleashed on thousands of objectives aimed at allowing the company to be profitable in the upswings and being in a position to survive the downswings. 

    Some leaders fail at this, while others so far have actually put their company in a position to still be viable. With cars, you need the pessimism to temper outrageous behavior in good times; and you need optimism to position a firm for future success when the economy recovers from bad times.

    The glacial pace of the auto industry means there isn’t enough time to wait for the economic turnaround to occur before you invest. It’s impossible to remain indecisive while waiting for the upswing to be realized on the statement of cash flows. If the starting-gun is predicated by full economic recovery, by the time your investment starts to generate cash, another downturn will take hold.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    You really need to stop putting such scary pictures at the lead of your stories.  I’d rather have top executives from Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, or Aldelphia running the show. 

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know what you teach, but I hope it isn’t civics and social studies. George W.  Bush hasn’t been President for almost a year now.  I realize that flogging a dead horse is easier than accountable governing, so go ahead and give vent to your Bush Derangement Syndrome.
       
       
      It’s not like it’s a picture of Whitacre with someone truly scary like Jimmy Carter or Al Gore.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Funny this is, the latest poll has about 50% saying they wish W was still the president instead of our bowing Nobel Laureate.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      Just like alot of East Germans and Russians miss communism, bring back the stasi and stalin….

      I am a republican (and hopefully I will be able to vote for the party of the 1st GB again one day), but the damage done to this country in 8 years is unreal, just unreal.

    • 0 avatar
      Juniper

      Actually it was 44%. But why let facts get in the way of serious blogging.
      Would like to know the question asked and who did the poll.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      It is social studies.  And I’m a few months from completeing my Education Leadership Masters Degree, making me eligible to become a school principal or, dare I say it, superintendent.  So tremble in your boots.

      BTW I’m a registered Libertarian former registered Republican and I can’t believe that anybody in this country who isn’t on Fox News or the EIB Radio Network honestly thinks that W. was still a good idea.

      @rnc

      I miss the party of Lincoln and Ike.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      And Jerry Ford (God bless his soul.)

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      And Jerry Ford (God bless his soul.)

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      And Jerry Ford (God bless his soul.)

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Dubya for GM CEO?

  • avatar

    That guy Whitacre is shaking hands with looks strangely familiar, and I have this funny feeling of relief that I can’t quite put my finger on…

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    George W.  Bush hasn’t been President for almost a year now.  I realize that flogging a dead horse is easier than accountable governing, so go ahead and give vent to your Bush Derangement Syndrome.

    You mean like 6 years into Bush II when certain folks were still blaming Clinton?  That kind of accountability?  Or 9 months into Obama, those same people who are still blaming Clinton?

    Where was all this outrage when the Bush II was doubling the national debt?

    Just ask Dick Cheney. He’ll tell ya. “Deficits don’t matter.”  (readily available video interview)

    I’m no fan of spending what we don’t have. Ronnie Reagan was the beginning of the end on that front. Not a fan of what Obama spending either. But, I can read and I remember the huge deficits and expansion of the national debt that has happened under EVERY president since Carter.

    So spare me the revisionist history. They all did it.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Without point any blame on any specific issue, it does take time for anything the gov’t does to have an effect.  Things that happened under Clinton effect Bush.  Things under Bush effect Obama.  While I know Clinton and Bush both have problems that caused this current recession, it will take time to get out of it.  I don’t pretend to have a crystal ball, but my guess is it is going to take more than 2 years of Obama’s presidency before a turnaround is really noticeable.  It will be interesting to see how both parties claim victory in the recovery, but all both probably did was delay it.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      All the Republicans have done since Obama took office is oppose every single initiative he has proposed and the Democrats have passed into legislation. It’s very hard to see how they can take credit for anything when they haven’t done anything but across the board oppose everything. Not wanting to get overly political on this forum but the Republicans don’t seem at all to understand they lost the White House, Senate and House in the last election precisely because their agenda was rejected completely.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      So spare me the revisionist history. They all did it.
      Actually, Clinton and the GOP congress were pretty responsible fiscally…
      I’d accept an Obama re-up in ’12 with the other party running congress.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Brownie.

  • avatar

    Clinton gave us a surplus
    And Dick Nixon was pretty good compared to Rove-Cheney.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    David,

    I started post-Carter. I try to leave Clinton’s surplus out – over 2 terms, he was pretty national debt neutral, depending on some tiny percentage accounting - but, best we’ve done in the last 25 years… 

     Bush was a deficit and national debt disaster.   

  • avatar
    mtypex

    GWB for GM prez!!! Yeah!

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    (sorry for the triple posting … some kind of computer/wi-fi issue here … and no edit/delete button on TTAC.

  • avatar
    DetroitsaRiot

    Ed will make GM profitable with a total GM employee count of 500 and one light bulb lit in the headquarters building in Det.


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