Former AT&T Exec Ed Whitacre To Lead GM - InformationWeek
IT Leadership // Team Building & Staffing
04:07 PM

Former AT&T Exec Ed Whitacre To Lead GM

The 6-foot-4-inch Texan retired from AT&T less than two years ago after taking over the old SBC telecom business.

Ed Whitacre Jr., former chairman and CEO of AT&T, has been picked as chairman of General Motors to lead the automaker out of its bankruptcy malaise, the company said Tuesday.

Telecom veteran Whitacre created the new AT&T by acquiring hundreds of billions of dollars worth of smaller telecom businesses, often referred to as Baby Bells. At the helm of GM, Whitacre will review the carmaker's business and restructure GM units to help the company emerge from bankruptcy, potentially as early as this summer.

"I am honored to be able to serve GM at this critical juncture and take part in its reinvention," Whitacre, 67, said in a statement.

GM interim chairman Kent Kresa announced Whitacre's appointment. Whitacre, a 6-foot-4-inch Texan, retired from AT&T less than two years ago after taking over the old Southwestern Bell (SBC) in 1990 and forging it into the world's largest telecommunications company by market capitalization. He had spent more than 40 years in the company, then based in San Antonio.

Whitacre changed the company's name to SBC and went on an acquisition warpath, acquiring several Baby Bells, including Ameritech, Pacific Telesis, SNET, and BellSouth. His last major acquisition was AT&T, which was the only piece left from the old AT&T brand name that had been left some two decades earlier after the old AT&T -- often called Ma Bell -- was ordered broken up by government regulators.

When Whitacre pieced together his AT&T, state and federal regulators, noting that the old AT&T had been broken up to foster competition, worried that the U.S. telecommunications industry was on its way to becoming a monopoly again. But Whitacre observed that new competition was emerging in the form of cable and wireless companies.

Whitacre is a board member of Exxon Mobile and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. His only immediately known connection to GM is the Cadillac he has been known to drive.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on the current state of IT salaries. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll