GM Chairman Ed Whitacre: Fitting In Already

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

GM’s government-appointed Chairman of the Board was out and about last night, speechifying at Texas Lutheran University. Ed Whitacre used the occasion to plea for the “modification” of Pay Czar Kenneth’s Feinberg’s pay caps. To recap the caps, the nationalized automaker’s top 25 executives took a 31 percent hair cut since joining the federal payroll. Aside from CEO Fritz “Opel Eyes” Henderson, that is, who had his cash compensation trimmed by just 25 percent (from $1.26 million to a paltry $950,000). Leaving only one other unnamed GM executive—cough, transparency, cough—who will “earn” more than $500,000 cash money for 2009. ‘Cause $500,000’s the new limit. And Ed’s not happy about that. “To find top-level people where you need them, that’s a more difficult thing to do at that salary level,” Whitacre said. “I don’t think [the caps] will be lifted, but hopefully they’ll be modified.” Now there’s a man who knows the value of politics. As for the value of GM stock, same deal. Or, in this case, no deal.

Whitacre shot down his own not-so-highly-paid executives’ promises of a 2010 GM stock offering—the planned method for returning U.S. taxpayer’s $52 billion (plus) investment in GM. “It depends on how quickly we become profitable. I think we can see that on the horizon, but I can’t promise a date.”

Now that’s what I call GM speak! Lots of promises, no firm targets and zero accountability. Looks like Ed’s fitting right in.

Oh, and don’t worry about that dropped IPO. Ed’s gonna maybe kinda sorta ensure that GM makes an unspecified payment to the feds at some unspecified date (ahead of the 2010 mid-term elections, presumably). “It’s conceivable we could pay back some of the loans before the end of the year,” he kinda sorta maybe promised.

Now that’s what I call GM speak! Lots of promises, no firm targets and zero accountability. Looks like Ed’s fitting right in.

Oh, and don’t worry about that cultural change thing. Whitacre said GM isn’t “rushing” to hire outside executives. “GM has made several inside changes recently,” the Detroit News paraphrases, “and the move to bring in new blood will be meted out slowly, he said, without giving timing.”

Now that’s what I call GM speak! Lots of promises, no firm targets and zero accountability. Looks like Ed’s fitting right in.

Oh, and don’t worry about all that talk about increasing market share. Despite his insistence upon protecting GM’s piece of the American new car sales pie, Ed says GM hasn’t set a specific market share goal and doesn’t want to add significantly to incentives. “We are just looking at ways to sell more vehicles, and it’s a very competitive market. We need to strike a balance.

Now that’s what I call GM speak! Lots of promises, no firm targets and zero accountability. Looks like Ed’s fitting right in.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Steven02 Steven02 on Nov 11, 2009

    Whitacre has been there 5 months. He has done great things at other companies. Maybe giving him more time to see if it works out would be better than just posting sensationalism. It will take a good amount of time for him to fix what is wrong at GM. 5 months isn't long enough.

  • Dilbert Dilbert on Nov 11, 2009

    5 months is long enough to set some general goals and coming up with a plan. He has no goals and seems to be dodging his responsibility.

  • Redapple2 HK: The Redapple is the TTAC resident HK hater. I have listed the reasons before. But, I am smart enough to keep my eyes open. I will say this. Overall, they have the best styling/design in autodum. I may not like certain models, but overall, they try. They try something new, different, fresh. Some models are great. Some so-so. But they are TRYING- All the time. Year after year. Other brands are locked into a firm theme - across multiple models and brands. Some lasting decades EX. Evil gm vampire Cadillac Arts and Science has been around for 22 years. Flawed fugly from the start. Never got better.
  • SCE to AUX This is the right direction for EVs, but I can't warm up to Kia's latest styling.This is bad news for Rivian, whose similarly-specced R3 isn't due until 2027 or something.Perhaps a low-spec version will start at $30k (maybe), but the 300-mile version with trimmings will certainly run closer to $50k. Then everyone will say Kia lied.
  • Buickman foolishness has no bounds, or borders.
  • JMII Wonder what the Hyundai version will look like because I am NOT a fan of this styling.Also someone needs to explain to H/K/G that you want the dark colored interior parts were you touch/sit and the lighter color parts elsewhere. For example the door panels here are dark with light armrests - this is backwards. Genesis made the same mistake in the GV60's white/ash (grey) interior. While I greatly appreciate something other then the dreaded black cave interior did they not consider how impossible this will be to keep clean in the real world?
  • JMII I see lots of ads for their CUVs but given the competition in this segment why would I buy an Outlander over a similar product from Toyota, Honda or Hyundai? Mitsubishi needs to offer something compelling, some hook or defining difference. I don't think I've encountered a single person who says "wow have you seen the new [blank] from Mitsubishi? I need to get me one of those".I owned a Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T back in '96 and it was fun car. Mitsubishi once made interesting choices with a rally heritage - those cars were fast and pretty high tech at the time. Like Nissan they kind of fell into the we will finance anyone pool so other then an Evo as a track toy anyone I knew steered clear of them.
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