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Q&A General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre

Yes, yes and no. Taciturn Whitacre keeps it short and sweet.

by on Dec.08, 2009

GM Chairman Ed Whitacre, Jr. keeps things short and simple during his first meeting with the media.

GM Chairman Ed Whitacre, Jr. keeps things short and simple during his first media meeting.

Though he insists he likes cars, Ed Whitacre, Jr. is not your classic “car guy,” which to some is a good thing.  Trained as a telecommunications engineer, the 68-year-old Texan rose to the top at SBC, one of the smaller “Baby Bells” spun off after the break-up of AT&T, eventually staging the highly unlikely takeover of SBC’s one-time parent.

Equally unlikely was the call Whitaker got from the White House task force.  A one-time top fundraiser for former President George W. Bush, Whitaker was named head of the newly-reconstituted Board of Directors following General Motors’ July 10 re-emergence from bankruptcy.

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Whitaker has little patience for those who don’t deliver, according to those who know him, something he demonstrated, a week ago, when he led the ouster of GM’s popular CEO Fritz Henderson.  For the time being, at least, Whitaker is serving as Acting CEO while a search begins for Henderson’s replacement.

In his first interaction with the media since the GM shake-up, Whitaker today held a brief, 38-minute webchat with journalists, a digital conversation that underscored his way of keeping things short and simple – if not always providing the necessary details or allowing follow up queries for clarification.  Here’s a transcript of the conversation: