Ask The Best And Brightest: Will Ed Whitacre Hire Himself?
If there’s a word to describe the feeling inside GM right now, it would be “nervous.” Though nobody was surprised that Fritz Henderson would leave at some point, it’s clear that his ouster was strangely timed and indicative of Ed Whitacre’s desire for rapid results. In an instant, Whitacre public image went from Iacocca-wannabe-pitchman to hard-charging Texas executive, seemingly defined by (get this) his penchant for killing rattlesnakes by pinning them with a stick and crushing their heads with a rock. So vivid is this metaphor, that according to Businesweek‘s David Welch, a number of GM executives actually offered their resignations to Whitacre immediately following the Henderson’s canning. Though Whitacre declined to let the bloodletting continue, a number of commentators now appear to believe that Whitacre wants to run GM himself. Though pay caps will be the easy excuse for not finding a new CEO, the board of director’s activism in clashing with Henderson over the Opel sale could discourage other executives from even considering the job. Moreover, Whitacre’s history of taking over companies and molding them in his image is well-established from his time at SBC/AT&T. So, will Ed Whitacre drop the pretense and the word “interim” from his title, or is he really just clearing the way for someone else?
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