It was President Obama who reached out to Ed Whitacre to come out of retirement and take over GM in 2008. 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.
AMERICAN TURNAROUND is a business memoir of Whitacre’s time running both GM and AT&T, complete with his management insights and prescriptive takeaways. Written in a straightforward style by his co-author Leslie Cauley (a Pulitzer prize nominee from the Wall StreetJournal), the book is also meant to have a strong undercurrent of American patriotism, as Whitacre feels that too much has been emphasized in the media that American workers are no longer capable of manufacturing anything of substance anymore.
Whitacre’s “roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work” attitude has won the admiration and respect of executives and employees throughout his days at GM and at AT&T.