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GM’s Whitacre Wants To Sell Off Government’s Stake ASAP

But CEO won’t discuss timetable for IPO.

by on Aug.05, 2010

GM wants to sell off the government's 61% stake "as soon as possible," says CEO Ed Whitacre.

General Motors is working on its initial public offering, but the only timeframe Chairman and President Ed Whitacre would offer for the IPO, during an appearance Thursday, was “as soon as possible,” in his latest non-news statement.
“It’s number one on our list,” Whitacre, who also serves as GM’s chief executive officer, told the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.  “We don’t like this label of ‘Government Motors.’ It turns customers off and it turns us off.”

Late last month, rumors began to circulate that GM would set out details of his planned stock offering around August 16th, following the release of its second-quarter earnings – about which Vice Chairman Steve Girsky today said analysts would be “encouraged.”

It is anticipated that the offering will be timed just before the upcoming mid-term Congressional elections, though neither Girsky nor Whitacre would confirm that timing. Ruling Congressional Democrats, along with incumbent Republicans face the wrath of voters this fall.

Following his speech at the annual industry confab, Whitacre told reporters that GM must file a massive application with the Securities Exchange Commission, something it is now working on.  But when GM does issue its IPO, Whitacre said he doesn’t expect any backlash as an automotive stock.

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“I think the appetite in the marketplace is going to be really good for GM stock,” he said. In fact, he added, some analysts said the automaker’s IPO could be the biggest ever.

When the stock does go public, Whitacre said he hopes that the government will be completely removed from any significant GM ownership.

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Henderson GM Consultant, Whitacre Paid $9 Million

Some surprises in General Motors’ SEC 8-K filing.

by on Feb.19, 2010

Why is this man smiling? Perhaps a $9 million pay package might help.

Though he initially took on CEO duties without pay, General Motors boss Ed Whitacre, Jr. won’t be going hungry.  Even if his tastes run toward prime Kobe beef, rather than Texas longhorn, Whitacre should be able to come up with the cash considering he’ll now be getting a pay package worth $9 million, the automaker announced late today in an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Few expected Whitacre to continue to volunteer his time as GM’s chief executive.  But the SEC filing did contain one big surprise: news that former CEO Fritz Henderson, ousted in a scuffle with Whitacre, late last November, has returned as a company “consultant.”

The month-to-month agreement, which could run through December 31, 2010, provides the former GM executive with $59,090 a month – plus “reasonable” expenses.

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For that sum, Henderson will put in 20 hours a month consulting on international operations – an area he specialized in before returning to the U.S., several years ago — and he will meet at least once a month with Whitacre or one of the new CEO’s representatives.

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Whitacre Says CEO Search is Over. It’s He!

Chairman and acting CEO is CEO after “sort of learning this business” at Government-packed Board's request.

by on Jan.25, 2010

"My motivation for doing this has not changed."

"My motivation for doing this has not changed."

At a news conference in Detroit late this morning, GM chairman and acting CEO Ed Whitacre, Jr., said that he has agreed to take the CEO job for an indefinite period following a request by last week by the U.S. government-packed board of directors.

The announcement confirms new reports, including ours, of earlier today, and possibly calls into question the effectiveness of regulation FD, or fair disclosure, from the Security and Exchange Commission, which is designed to prevent the selective release of news material to some of a company’s investors before it’s publicly revealed to all.

U.S. taxpayers have invested $120 billion in the U.S. auto industry, with GM representing $50 billion of that amount. Management changes are without question material.

This place needs some stability,” Whitacre said. “And I guess that’s me.”

The announcement comes just before  President Obama’s first State of the Union address this Wednesday. Obama, whose ratings among independent voters are plummeting, is expected continue his recent themes of attacking Wall Street banking plutocrats, some of whom were responsible for the wildly unpopular bailouts of the financial industry, as well as the taxpayer-subsidized reorganizations of GM, Chrysler and GMAC, among other loss-making concerns in the automobile business.

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Tax Dollar Watch!

Last week GM announced that a consummate Wall Street banking insider, Stephen Girsky, is being paid almost $1 million a year.

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Whitacre to Become Permanent GM CEO?

Announcement could come late this morning.

by on Jan.25, 2010

Why is this man smiling? Perhaps because "Big Ed" Whitacre will be named GM's permanent CEO, while retaining his Chairman's post.

It looks like “Big Ed” Whitacre could be around a little longer than he originally anticipated – and in a role neither he nor General Motors had originally planned on.

Well-placed sources echo wire reports that Edward Whitacre, Jr. will be formally named the permanent CEO of GM, this morning.  A briefing is scheduled for this morning, 11:30 AM EST, though for the moment, GM officials will only say that the rushed news conference is to discuss “business activities.”

The former CEO of the telecomm giant SBC, which became AT&T, Whitacre joined GM as its non-executive Chairman, last July, following its emergence from bankruptcy.  The 68-year-old Texan initially declined the offer, made by the White House, which is overseeing the government’s 60% stake in GM.  But Whitacre eventually agreed to what observers thought would be a brief and relatively outside role steering the automaker’s restructuring.

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That changed dramatically, on November 30th, when the Whitacre-led GM Board of Directors ousted former CEO Fritz Henderson.  The Texas-born executive stepped into the role as “Acting” CEO, while a nationwide search was begun.

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Whitacre Won’t Rule Out Staying on as GM CEO

Automaker plans to pay back government TARP loan by June 2010, but won’t set IPO date.

by on Dec.15, 2009

The search is on, but could Ed Whitacre, Jr. be ready to turn his Acting CEO title into a more permanent one?

The search is on, but could Ed Whitacre, Jr. be ready to turn his Acting CEO title into a more permanent one?

For a man who admits getting lost in Detroit’s maze-like Renaissance Center, the corporate headquarters of General Motors, Chairman and acting CEO Ed Whitacre is quickly finding his way around the troubled automaker.

And he appears to like what he’s seeing.  In his first face-to-face meeting with reporters since the ouster of former CEO Fritz Henderson, early this month, the tall and lanky Texan said GM is actively looking for a permanent replacement for the chief executive position, but Whitacre pointedly declined to rule out the possibility that he could drop the “Acting” from his expanding list of titles and stay on as GM’s CEO.

“We’re looking for someone who can be a leader of this company,” the former ATT boss explained, adding that the next GM CEO wouldn’t necessarily have to come from the auto industry, nor would that person have to be a CEO now, but it would take “an inspirational leader who’s familiar with a big company.”

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How long might the search take?  It’s only gotten underway, said Whitacre and, “I don’t have any definite timetable.  Not next week, not a year.”  A challenge, the executive said, is that “we can’t pay much” because of a federally-mandated pay cap on companies that took a government bailout.  But anyone seeking the CEO post is likely to be motivated not just by compensation, “but by leading a big company,” especially one with the chance to rebuild its former grandeur.

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