The newly appointed chairman of GM says he doesn’t know much about cars. From the Bloomberg article: “I don’t know anything about cars. A business is a business, and I think I can learn about cars. I’m not that old, and I think the business principles are the same.” From a media training perspective, this is both refreshing and frightening. Now that most Americans own a bit of a stake in GM, we are listening more closely to what the top brass at the auto companies (and banks) are saying. So while Edward Whitacre is being very upfront about what he brings to the table (and he does have an impressive business background spanning 42 years including a major overhaul at AT&T), it might have been prudent for him to have chosen his words more wisely. His quote hit the Web fast and furiously and stuck at the top of the fold for maybe an hour before other news surpassed it. The other good news for GM is that Whitacre promises to learn about the auto industry (pheeew) and, according to a former AT&T colleague quoted by Bloomberg: “He doesn’t like long meetings.” That’s a sentiment people can really relate to.
— Diane Schwartz