GM Chairman Ed Whitacre Named Permanent CEO

By Sadie Bass

Jan 25, 2010 12:41pm

ABC's Tahman Bradley reports from Detroit: General Motors Chairman Ed Whitacre announced this morning that he will continue in the role of CEO of the Detroit auto maker.  "Having spent the past few months learning the business, meeting with employees, customers, dealers, and working with the GM leadership team, I was honored and pleased to accept this role," he said.  Whitacre, who is the former CEO of AT&T, has been serving in the role of GM CEO since December when former CEO Fritz Henderson left the company.   At a press conference at company headquarters in Detroit, Mr. Whitacre told reporters the GM board of directors asked him to stay on as CEO at a special meeting last week.  The board asked him to take the role permanently, Whitacre says, because they felt after everything GM has been through the company needs stability.  “We have a lot of work to do everywhere. We have an ongoing need to do a lot of things in a lot of places,” he said.
 
Whitacre confirmed that GM will pay back the $6.7 billion in loans it borrowed from the U.S. and Canadian governments by June.  On Sabb, Whitacre said the company has nothing to announce about the brand other than the wind-down operations continue.  The Dutch luxury car maker Spyker Cars NV is still in talks with the company about buying Saab. Terminated GM and Chrysler dealers have by midnight tonight to request independent arbitration hearings on the possibility they might be reinstated.  Whitacre has said that he expects hundreds of GM dealers will eventually be reinstated.  He said today that the reinstatement of the dealers is not something that he anticipates will slow the company's progress. "I'm not sure it will weaken us," said Whitacre. "I'm anticipating we'll get through this." On a personal note, Whitacre held the GM flag high talking about its importance to the country.  He said he views running General Motors as a public service.  "I think this company is good for America. I think America needs this."

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