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! ;-)