Edward Whitacre, Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Edward Whitacre, Jr.
BornEdward Earl Whitacre, Jr.[1]
(1941-11-04) November 4, 1941 (age 73)
Ennis, Texas, United States
ResidenceSan Antonio, Texas
EducationB.S. Industrial Engineering
Alma materTexas Tech University
Occupationbusiness executive and consultant
Known forleadership of Southwestern Bell Corporation, AT&T, and General Motors
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Edward Whitacre, Jr.
BornEdward Earl Whitacre, Jr.[1]
(1941-11-04) November 4, 1941 (age 73)
Ennis, Texas, United States
ResidenceSan Antonio, Texas
EducationB.S. Industrial Engineering
Alma materTexas Tech University
Occupationbusiness executive and consultant
Known forleadership of Southwestern Bell Corporation, AT&T, and General Motors

Edward Earl "Ed" Whitacre, Jr. (born November 4, 1941) is the former Chairman and CEO of General Motors. He is also a former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc., previously Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC). He served as national president of the Boy Scouts of America from 1998 to 2000. On September 1, 2010, Whitacre stepped down as CEO, and retired as chairman of the board by the end of 2010.[2][3]

Life and career[edit]

Whitacre was born in Ennis, Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and is a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.[4]

He began his career with Southwestern Bell in 1963 as a facility engineer.

In October 1988, Whitacre became president and chief operating officer of a regional bell operating company, Southwestern Bell Corporation. Two years later, Whitacre became chairman of the board and chief executive officer. In 1995, Southwestern Bell Corporation changed its name to SBC Communications. Whitacre led SBC through a series of mergers and acquisitions in building the largest provider of both local long distance telephone services and wireless service (through its Cingular division) in the United States. These acquisitions included Pacific Telesis (1997), SNET (1998), Comcast Cellular (1999), Ameritech (1999) and AT&T Corporation (2005), from which the post-merger company took its name, as well as the 2006 acquisition of Bell South.[5]

On June 23, 2006, he and the CEO of BellSouth were brought in under the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee following the AT&T-BellSouth merger. Whitacre was questioned regarding possible customer information leaks to the NSA in the interest of national security.[5] There had been allegations by former AT&T technician Mark Klein that such work had been done in Room 641A of the San Francisco offices.[5]

Whitacre's compensation totaled $61 million in 2006,[6] $17 million in 2005, and about $14 million in 2004.[7]

In 2006, Whitacre famously declared that companies like Google, Yahoo! or Vonage should not be able to “use the pipes for free.” [8]

On April 27, 2007, at the AT&T annual stockholders meeting, Whitacre announced his intent to retire as chief executive officer and chairman of the board, effective June 3. The board of directors elected Randall Stephenson to succeed Whitacre as new CEO and chairman. Whitacre retired on June 4, 2007, with Randall Stephenson taking over the following morning. Upon retirement, Whitacre was eligible for a $158 million payout from AT&T.[6] Following retirement, under his employment contract, Whitacre was entitled to receive some continuing benefits, including automobile use, access to AT&T's corporate aircraft for up to ten hours per month, use of AT&T office facilities and support staff, home security, and club memberships, as well as payment of applicable taxes resulting from these benefits, except for use of the aircraft. In addition, Whitacre has a three-year consulting contract with AT&T for which he is paid about $1 million annually.[9] It has been reported that during his tenure at AT&T, Whitacre offered Randall Stephenson three words of advice via text message when the executive change was announced: "Give 'em hell".[10]

BusinessWeek (1999) reported that, although the CEO of AT&T — amongst the largest and most influential names in telecommunications and its surrounding technology, Whitacre did not use e-mail or have a computer at his office.[11]

As General Motors chairman and interim CEO, Whitacre does have a computer at his office and prefers to answer e-mail via BlackBerry.[12]

In May 2008, Whitacre was elected to the board of directors for ExxonMobil.[13]

On June 9, 2009, General Motors named Whitacre as chairman.[14] He took the position when the automaker emerged from bankruptcy proceedings on July 10, 2009.[15] On December 1, 2009, Whitacre became interim CEO following Fritz Henderson's resignation.[16] Since taking the helms, he has been dubbed the GM Reaper by many in blogs, noted for his strong desire to "kill off" brands and projects, such as Saab and a sub-Volt Toyota Prius competitor planned for Chevrolet. In January 2010, chairman Whitacre was appointed permanent CEO after serving in the post in an interim capacity. On September 1, 2010 he relinquished the CEO position to Daniel Akerson but agreed to continue on as GM Chairman to the end of the year.[17]

In February of 2014 it was announced that he will deliver the Spring Commencement address for University of the Pacific's Stockton campus on May 10, 2014 at Alex G. Spanos Center.[18]

He continues to live in San Antonio, but frequently travels to Detroit.[19]

Honors[edit]

AT&T headquarters in downtown Dallas was dubbed "Whitacre Tower" in honor of Whitacre's 44 years at the company, 17 of which were spent as chairman and CEO.

In 2004, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the University of the Incarnate Word.[20]

On November 12, 2008, Texas Tech announced that its college of engineering will be renamed the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering. In 2007, AT&T created an award called the "Whitacre Award" to honor the former chairman and to demonstrate its commitment to delivering best-in-class service.

Whitacre was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2009.

In 2010, Whitacre was named as a finalist for Texan of the Year.[14]

On Thursday, November 10, 2011 Mr. Whitacre was honored with the Amistad Award by the San Antonio-Mexico Friendship Council Inc (SAMFCO). This award recognized Mr. Whitacre as an individual who, according to SAMFCO, personifies the mission of said Council and for distinguishing himself by his dedication to strengthening and promoting the cultural and historical ties shared by the citizens of San Antonio and Mexico. The award ceremony was preceded (?!) by Tom C. Frost, senior chairman of the board of Frost National Bank, Henry E. Sauvignet, Director of Administration at the North American Development Bank (NADBANK), and Armando Ortiz Rocha, Consul General of Mexico in San Antonio. Mr. Whitacre is the 15th person to receive this award, sharing this grant with outstanding people such as Henry G. Cisneros, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, and the very own Tom C. Frost (Whitacre was the person who presided over the ceremony when Frost was given the award in 1999).

Book[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Digest of Other White House Announcements". Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (Government Printing Office) 38 (2). January 14, 2002. 
  2. ^ GM's Whitacre Steps Down as CEO, Replaced by Akerson
  3. ^ "Dan Akerson to Become CEO, Whitacre Remains Chairman" (Press release). General Motors. 2010-08-12. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  4. ^ In an editorial on the occasion of Whitacre's relinquishing the leadership of GM, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal expressed that Whitacre "very positively reflected on Texas Tech with what he accomplished" ("Whitacre’s job turning around GM helps America and reflects well on Texas Tech". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. 2011-01-15. p. A6. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  5. ^ a b c Wu, Tim, The Master Switch, New York : Random House, 2010. Cf. especially Chapter 18, "The Return of AT&T", pp.238-253.
  6. ^ a b Washington Post: Long-Serving AT& T Chief To Leave With Huge Payout
  7. ^ Gubbins, Ed, "Whitacre's Worth", Telephony Online, Connected Planet, February 20, 2006
  8. ^ Ryan, Patrick, "Everyone already pays their fair share", Policy by the Numbers, December 14, 2011
  9. ^ 2007 AT&T Proxy Statement
  10. ^ "New CEO Takes Over Telecom Giant AT&T", The Associated Press, Sunday, June 3, 2007
  11. ^ BusinessWeek RESUME: Edward E. Whitacre Jr.
  12. ^ Scott, David Meerman, "Open letter to Ed Whitacre, new interim CEO of GM", December 03, 2009
  13. ^ "Edward E. Whitacre, Jr. Elected to ExxonMobil Board", ExxonMobil news release, May 28, 2008
  14. ^ a b "Editorial: Texan of the Year finalist Ed Whitacre", The Dallas Morning News, 21 December 2010
  15. ^ Chang, Sue (06-09-2009). "Edward Whitacre Jr. named new GM chairman". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 06-09-2009.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ "GM Statement Attributed To Chairman Ed Whitacre", GM Press Release, December 1, 2009
  17. ^ Vlasic, Bill, "G.M. Chief Sees I.P.O. As Exit Sign", The New York Times, August 19, 2010 (August 20, 2010 print edition)
  18. ^ http://www.pacific.edu/About-Pacific/Newsroom/2014/February-2014/Ed-Whitacre-to-speak-at-2014-Commencement.html
  19. ^ Hendricks, David (June 24, 2009). "China's SAIC noncommittal on stake in GM IPO". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  20. ^ "SBC's Whitacre will receive honorary doctorate", San Antonio Business Journal, Tuesday, May 4, 2004
Boy Scouts of America
Preceded by
John W. Creighton, Jr.
National president
1998–2000
Succeeded by
Milton H. Ward
Business positions
Preceded by
Zane E. Barnes
Chairman of Southwestern Bell
1990–1995
Company name changed to
SBC Communications
Chief Executive Officer of Southwestern Bell
1990–1995
New titlePresident of SBC Communications
1995–2005
Company name changed to
AT&T Inc.
Chief Executive Officer of SBC Communications
1995–2005
Preceded by
David Dorman
as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
of AT&T Corporation
Chairman of AT&T Inc.
2005–2007
Succeeded by
Randall Stephenson
Chief Executive Officer of AT&T Inc.
2005–2007
Preceded by
Kent Kresa
Chairman of General Motors
2009 - 2010
Succeeded by
Daniel Akerson
Preceded by
Frederick Henderson
Chief Executive Officer of General Motors
2009 - 2010
Succeeded by
Daniel Akerson