Former CEO explains how he turned GM around
Whitacre oversaw company's reorganization
- Duration 3:50
- Date Feb 6, 2013
Whitacre oversaw company's reorganization
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AT&T big -- the CEO Ed Whitacre was called out of retirement and asked to take over.
Sixteen months later the company went from being on life to support to launch of the biggest IPO in history.
Now Whitaker is speaking candidly about GM's near demise and pulling the curtain back on the bailout in his brand new book.
Just when you thought you retired they told you that can -- any presidents of broad jump and back in it in the industry knew nothing about.
Yeah I was has just said no the first couple of times but I change from why.
An American service should know I thought if I -- help -- go do it GM's part of the -- breakthrough of this country's been around a long time all the way back to world war two and before made many products.
-- always had a GM car I just thought I'd go see if I can -- so this is what she walked into.
The government walked in said we're not gonna let the car companies go out of business on my watch George Bush.
And prison Obama both said combined 49 point five billion dollars in assistance.
Not a grant so you have to go deal with that.
How much has been repaid and how much is still load.
Well there was a loan and then there was an equity interest -- repaid the loan I think it was seven or eight billion dollars early in March.
And then the -- PO paid back part of it I'm not sure exactly how much is left about twenty billion herself so that twenty billion is left now you are able to you want to the government -- -- can -- -- out of us.
And then when we could be our own our own not entity when the government -- Well I thought to government could -- her entire -- can I Campillo.
They elected not to why can't tell you have to ask them but I know they're doing that now.
Good now basically we're still out the taxpayers still out.
Twenty billion some some amount I don't know exactly.
The and and right now the governments of those 22% did you feel their presence in your decision making I did not the government was very helpful.
It worked out good they let us run the company -- let us put it back on track they were terrific.
Ed why did you feel as -- you can walk in the air.
And how long did take you realize this was a management problem who -- -- a product problem or didn't take very long I mean.
Highest somebody for the senior manager at a GM what was wrong and one of them said there's nothing wrong with us the economy got us.
And I said well what about the other car companies it didn't get to him right away I knew we had to make some changes would you was the first thing you did.
Well we made some changes we tried to clear -- bureaucracy we change the lines of organization.
We gave people authority and responsibility.
And held them accountable we simplified the place right how do you feel that people watching from -- four.
And saying you know what why am I bailing out GM Ford was saving for a rainy day they knew something was coming.
What do you think -- -- tell the taxpayers says I don't feel comfortable about what we did.
Well first -- -- think we should pay that taxpayer backed but it was absolutely the right thing to do to bail it out you think about GM.
And it's a big company and she -- manufacturing assets.
But you think about the thousands of suppliers and the thousands tens of thousands of jobs with a suppliers.
A bankrupt GM not only would have -- GM it would have terribly hurt with probably millions of jobs of the suppliers so have been.
Huge affect what about the effect of the union having an ownership stake in the end people thing while you -- just got away with that a lot of the investors and stockholders got screwed say the union was great and bringing GM back they were cooperative we got along well they were a big part of making GM good again.
And I have a top.
So let me tell you -- -- -- -- thirtieth I'm glad you do I did at a retirement into the -- into the fire all your brand new book congratulations on it.
And thanks so much for joining us nearly captured -- -- to look at the book bags.