Ed Whitacre: Hachette Speakers Bureau

Ed Whitacre

Former Chairman & CEO, General Motors Company Chairman Emeritus, AT&T Inc.

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 2008 and turning the company around in magnificent fashion.

It was President Obama who reached out to the down-to-earth, no-nonsense Texas native to come out of retirement and take over the company. In his business memoir, American Turnaround: Reinventing GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA, Whitacre explores his unique management style, business acumen and patriotism.

Before leaving retired life to run GM, Whitacre had spent his entire corporate career in the telecom business. As chairman and CEO of AT&T from 1990 until retiring in June 2007, Whitacre led then-SBC Communications (SBC) on a disciplined growth strategy and through a series of industry-changing mergers and acquisitions, including the 2005 acquisition of AT&T Corp., after which the company adopted the venerable name, AT&T Inc. (AT&T).

Under Whitacre’s leadership, SBC made significant domestic and international investments. In addition, SBC established several groundbreaking strategic partnerships with companies such as Yahoo! and Echostar, enabling SBC to set the pace for DSL sales as well as enter the video market. SBC joined with BellSouth to create Cingular Wireless, which in 2004 acquired AT&T Wireless. SBC and the new AT&T have been repeatedly named by Fortune as the most admired telecommunications company in America and the world. Forbes named AT&T Company of the Year” for 2006.

Whitacre currently serves on the board of Exxon Mobil Corporation. He previously served as a member of The Business Council, the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and the boards of the Institute for International Economics, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation and the PGA Tour.

Born on November 4, 1941 in Ennis, Texas, Whitacre graduated from Texas Tech University in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. He began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1963 as a facility engineer in Lubbock, Texas.

Whitacre’s leadership extends into the community where he has been actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America, the Board of Regents of Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and United Way.

In recognition of his commitment to business and community, Whitacre was named one of the Top 25 Executives of the Year by BusinessWeek. He also has earned a number of awards for his contributions to business and civic affairs, including the Corporate Leadership Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Obelisk Leadership Award.

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  • Reinventing the Way We Do Business in the USA

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