The 67-year-old Whitacre will take over as chairman later this summer, GM said Tuesday. Kent Kresa, GM’s interim chairman, will remain in that role until Whitacre joins the company.
Whitacre probably is a good pick for GM, which needs to reinvent itself to compete with foreign car companies and create American jobs. As CEO of SBC, Whitacre masterminded the acquisitions of AT&T Corp. and BellSouth Corp. in 2005 and 2006, essentially reconstructing the Ma Bell monopoly. He also ignited the net neutrality debate when he blasted Google for trying to “use my pipes” for free. In other words, Whitacre is an aggressive leader who pulls no punches – and doesn’t take any, either.