Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who's Qualified to run GM?

I'm getting a little tired of listening to Glenn Beck and others complain about Ed Whitacre becoming the new CEO of Government Motors. Let's see why...

Here's a picture of Jack Welch of GE fame:

Now, let's assume that Mr. Welch was approached by the Obama administration to run GM. Here's a guy that has arguably created more shareholder wealth than any other CEO. I'm sure he said, "Hell, no, I won't go". But suppose that he had accepted the job. Let's also imagine his first TV interview:
Larry Kudlow: "Jack, my friend, thanks for joining me on my show. Now, let me ask you the big question: What in the world makes you think you're qualified to run GM? You've never made a car in your life. Sure, you've made jet engines, but the last time I looked, jets are not an option on a Suburban or a Corvette. What makes you think you can run a car company?"

Mr. Welch: "Larry, great question. And let me tell you...I don't know how to make a car. I've never made a jet engine either. But I know how to hire talented people, people who are smarter than I am. And I know how to empower them to design, build, and sell cars that people want. And if the government will get out of my way, we'll do that at a profit. I don't know a GE Range from a Range Rover, but I can wring costs out of a big company and make it profitable again."
Anyone have any doubt that those words could come from Mr. Welch?

Here's a picture of GM's new CEO, Ed Whitacre.

Mr. Whitacre said about the same thing yesterday. He admitted to a reporter that he didn't know anything about the car business. And now the press is killing him (figuratively). Perhaps he could have said it better, but I admire him for saying it. If he had said, "Well, you know, making a car isn't that different from making telecom switches, and I've been making those for 30 years, so I know what I'm doing", we'd have something to complain about. But he said pretty much what we imagine the great Jack Welch would say.

You may not agree with Obama's pick for Government Motors, but give Mr. Whitacre credit for being a very experienced CEO who knows how to run a big company. I for one am happier with this pick than if he'd picked, say, a GM insider, where we'd get the same old crap coming out of the GM plants.

I don't agree with bailing out GM, and I think Obama has screwed up Chrysler, GM, AIG, M.O.U.S.E, and everything else he's touched. But I'm willing to give Mr. Whitacre a chance. I've never met him, but I've been in meetings and heard him speak, and he's a straight-shooting Texan. We need some of that straight talk in Detroit -- and Washington. And I sure trust Whitacre with my $50 billion more than I would Barney Fag or Witch Pelosi with it.

1 comment:

Vince said...

Thank U for the post

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Vince

Entertainment at one stop