GM passes the CEO torch to Ed Whitcare

General Motors (GM) did not have to look too far to find its new CEO. All they had to do was simply turn to Ed Whitcare, who has been serving as the ailing automotive company's interim CEO since December when the company's board cleaned its management house by firing CEO Frederick Henderson.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, GM had been considering a number of other possible CEO candidates, but apparently Whitcare became "more and more" comfortable with the role during the interim period.

What made Whitcare more amenable to becoming CEO was his ability to attract some of his fellow AT&T management cohorts including John Montford as senior advisor to Whitcare and vice president of government relations.

Of course, the question is what's attracting Whitcare to take the helm at GM? It's not like the telecom veteran, who served as the president of the former SBC Communications and subsequently the new AT&T, necessarily needs the money. When Whitcare retired from AT&T in 2007, he made off with a handsome retirement package that included a $158.5 million pension in addition to a $122,000 personal benefits allowance.  

No, Whitcare, who had been asked to come out of retirement to turn GM around last year, believes he can "help continue the company's road back to success."

Whitcare, however, is not the only executive to come from the outside to turnaround another big name company. And while these so-called turnaround gurus have had varying degrees of success, one of the other significant executives to come from the outside was Louis Gerstner who helped right the ship at IBM in the 1990s despite having no computing experience. Hopefully Whitcare will be able to do the same.  

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this article
- xChange also has this article
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$60 million for Whitacre in 2006