By on December 15, 2009

Who wants to be a millionaire? (Courtesy: Getty Images)

A person that’s a motivating, inspirational leader that’s familiar with big companies — manufacturing or industrial — would be helpful… We can’t pay people a whole lot of money here

Ed Whitacre offers up the opportunity of a lifetime [via Automotive News [sub]] : a chance to lead General Motors to victory over decades of inertia and sclerosis in a brutal market for a million bucks (if Feinberg likes you). Candidates need not have CEO experience or strong auto credentials, although Whitacre warns that the job takes him 14 hours a day, 5½ or six days a week. And when he does manage to steal away for a relaxing Sunday of rattlesnake extermination, his phone constantly rings. Plus, the RenCen is a freaking maze, y’know?

I’ve had to stop a couple of times and ask guards or people, “Where am I?”

Of course Whitacre means it literally, but the metaphor fits like a Bruno Magli. Whitacre admits to “coming up one, maybe two days a week,” back when he was just Chairman of the Board. Now that he’s living in the RenCen, there’s still a whole lot of learning going on. AN [sub] paints the picture:

“I’m not a car guy,” Whitacre said. “I think we all have to be educated on the board.”

At one point, after a reporter asked about the future of electric vehicles, Whitacre explained that he personally liked them, but he didn’t know enough to make projections. And he said he was just learning automotive terminology, such as “segment.”

But Whitacre is driving some GM vehicles and telling the company’s product development leaders some of what he thinks, he said.

Just learning the term “segment”? Are we talking before, or after Fritz left?

Two of Whitacre’s top priorities are increasing sales and market share, but he’d also like to keep incentives low. When asked about the challenge of doing both, Whitacre said: “I don’t know, but I think we’ll figure it out. We’re all working on that.”

Good thing everybody’s hurrying! ;-)

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17 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Help Wanted Edition...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    Dear God….

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    Man the lifeboats!

  • avatar

    While not a ridiculous as your garden variety quote from Bob Lutz, these come verrry close.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I must say his remarks don’t sound too promising. I’m thinking he’s putting on an act so that he doesn’t have to directly answer any questions but can still be thought of as media accessible. At least I hope for the sake of GM’s future he is. Our local media said today that he stated he had no intention of remaining CEO for a substantial amount of time which was what I thought would be the case. I still think the benefit to GM from his presence is bringing in outsiders and removing the high level GM lifers. To actually move GM forward is going to require other top level management personnel besides Whitacre.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I nominate Robert Farago.

  • avatar
    autonut

    OK, not a car guy, gets lost easily, pushing 70. Anyone believes he knows which way is up?

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Wow. 14 hour days?  Maybe 6 days a week? Only $1MM per year? Gosh, that sounds brutal…

    Last time I checked, ‘segment’ was standard corp-speak term. That anyone could make it out of the mailroom and not know that term is beyond the pale.

  • avatar
    lw

    I’m thinking they go with a “CEO for a day” approach.
    Employees can nominate each other to be “CEO for a day”.  For 24 hours you get the pay/perks/etc. and you get to fire anyone that’s ticked you off over the years.
    But be careful… cause tomorrow is someone else’s turn!

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. The pedal on the right makes it go faster. The wide pedal to the left makes it go slower.

  • avatar
    meefer

    Hmmm I’ve worked as much for a lot less – sign me up!  I can bring down GM slower then he will, guaranteed.

  • avatar
    cpmanx

    I suggest that all TTAC members submit their resumes. Time for us to put our reputations on the line–for one million dollars.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Dr. Evil: You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that can’t be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for? Honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?Number Two: Sea bass.Dr. Evil: [Unconvinced] Right.Number Two: They are mutated sea bass.Dr. Evil: Really? Are they ill tempered?Number Two: Absolutely.Dr. Evil: Oh well, that’s a start.

    • 0 avatar
      superbadd75

      I’m sorry, I can’t put my rep up for a million bucks. It’s worth far, far less. I’d feel bad for taking your tax money.

    • 0 avatar
      FloorIt

      Is the corporate jet really nixed or still available?

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    Ah, the price of depending on the largesse of Marxists.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I don’t have CEO experience, but am willing to work for 1/4 of your offerred salary, Mr. Whitacre. I’ve worked far more hours for far less money, so I can take it. Just don’t make me move to Detroit.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    How ’bout plucking someone from a supplier??  You know, one of those ‘business partners’ that knows autos, knows where the holes are…
     
    I’m not talking from Delphi or Visteon… I’m talking from a mid tier supplier to Toyota, Honda, MB or someone else.  Find the best leader with a huge ego and sign him/her up for the challenge of a lifetime.


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