American Turnaround

Overview

Ed Whitacre is credited with taking over the corporate reins at General Motors (GM) when the automotive manufacturer was on the brink of bankruptcy during 2009 and turned the company around in magnificent fashion. In this business memoir, the native Texan explores his unique management style, business acumen and patriotism.

It was President Obama who reached out to Ed Whitacre to come out of retirement and take over GM in 2009. A down-to-earth, no-nonsense Texas native with a ...

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Overview

Ed Whitacre is credited with taking over the corporate reins at General Motors (GM) when the automotive manufacturer was on the brink of bankruptcy during 2009 and turned the company around in magnificent fashion. In this business memoir, the native Texan explores his unique management style, business acumen and patriotism.

It was President Obama who reached out to Ed Whitacre to come out of retirement and take over GM in 2009. A down-to-earth, no-nonsense Texas native with a distinctive Texas twang in his voice, Whitacre was reluctant to come out of retirement to work at GM.

But Whitacre is that rare CEO with great charisma and extraordinary management instincts. And when he got to Detroit, he started to whittle down the corporate bureaucracy right away - and got GM back on track in record time

Before being pulled out of retirement to run GM by Obama, Ed Whitacre had spent his entire corporate career in the telecom business, where he ultimately ended up running AT&T.

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Editorial Reviews

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Edward Whitacre didn't want to come out of retirement, but the president's phone call convinced him. After the hospitable 2009 White House request, the former AT&T CEO agree to take over General Motors and help the embattled car company get back on track pronto. He succeeded and in American Turnaround, the retired-again executive explains why American companies need to do find their way to a resilient recovery.

Publishers Weekly
An inspiring memoir from the laconic CEO and chairman of AT&T and GM. Whitacre spent 44 years at AT&T, starting as a student engineer in the early 1960s at what was then Southwestern Bell and eventually leading the company. His time there was rewarding, exciting, and beneficial for the company: he oversaw the original iPhone contract, implemented budget-saving, cost-cutting measures, and did away with executive privilege. He also made good but less popular decisions such as moving Southwestern Bell from St. Louis to his native Texas. After spending just two years getting accustomed to retirement, Whitacre was asked by the White House to take over the sinking GM. He agreed, intending to be quickly in and out, but instead ended up shepherding the company through the launch of the Volt and a highly successful IPO. The Obama administration approved of his success, and he finally stepped down, handing GM over to a new CEO. Whitacre characterizes himself as a “private man by nature,” but wrote the book to “thank and publicly acknowledge” the people who helped him throughout his career. In what is basically a vanity project, albeit a sweet one, Whitacre describes his philosophy, management style, and business principles, all of which are interesting, but not particularly novel. Agent: Joe Veltri, Gersh Agency. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
A tough-talking Texan offers business truisms. Whitacre is a turnaround specialist who took AT&T from a $9 billion "Baby Bell" to a global giant with annual revenues of more than $120 billion; he later took the reins of General Motors and saw it through the tough process of federally mandated reorganization. "None of this is magic," he faux modestly avers. It does, however, have everything to do with good management, and by his account, good management is in exceedingly short supply. The truisms begin to mount as he proceeds: "People are the number one asset of any business"; "Good managers know that change is the only constant in business, so they actively manage their businesses--smartly, aggressively, and as humanely as possible"; "Life, when you really think about it, is basically just a series of key moments or turning points." Such things might seem self-evident and obvious, but when Whitacre serves up horror stories of corporate culture run amok, including places where ordinary employees weren't allowed to ride in the same elevators as top management and where those same ordinary employees were made to feel as if they were scarcely worth being seen, let alone being heard, then it becomes more obvious that common-sensical approaches have to be beaten into the heads of some of the privileged corporate elite. There's no sense of privilege in the author's pages, though it's obvious that he's made a vast amount of money. Instead, Whitacre provides a refreshing amount of sunshine and fresh air, with guardedness surrounding only the question of why he left GM, an event that still seems a touch mysterious. A keeper in a field of undercooked, underwritten books by CEOs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781478978435
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Publication date: 2/28/2013
  • Format: Other

Meet the Author

Edward Whitacre is the former CEO of General Motors. With a background in telecommunications, running AT&T, but came out of retirement to save GM.
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