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Well you've been a lot for the past couple of years you know this story in 2009 General Motors the esteemed all -- General Motors filed for bankruptcy.
Received a fifty billion dollar bailout and sixteen months later launch the largest IPO in history.
Ed Whitacre was the man recruited out of retirement to rescue the failing auto company.
Not even a car guy buys out -- -- -- is speaking openly about his time at GM and the importance of saving the US auto industry has brand new book American turnaround.
He is here with us now.
And and -- remember when they said Ed Whitacre is gonna be that guy and I thought.
Ed Whitacre from AT&T.
And I think it's so fascinating in this book -- you talk about being brought in getting the call from Steve Rattner.
And your first reaction.
My first reaction was no I know nothing about cars I can -- on.
I can I can start one and drive and that's it.
Why -- you the right guy fell for what is now at indelibly marked in our history is a time when.
General Motors almost -- entirely under disappear.
I'm not sure I was the right -- but -- worked out OK so maybe -- was.
But I had worked at a big company unionized company had worked there a long time GM was a big company.
I knew something about organizations.
And people so maybe that's -- got the call you know with the you also go into your early history that was that you grow up thinking -- -- work for the railroad just like I had did.
I ever had and it's been -- journey certainly to become one of the top corporate leaders in a free market world.
Why did you go along with a government bailout which is the antithesis of letting the free market really got.
Take over in this case -- for a couple of reasons my -- -- grown up with GM cars my first car was sure -- It was part of America it was a fabric of America in World War II.
-- beyond made lots of different products.
Was just a great American company and I didn't wanna see that company Noual I.
There was no way appetite in the private sector -- -- UG.
And I don't think most people realize how many suppliers.
We're gonna we're gonna hear yeah yeah yes so not only would it -- been GM employs but it would have been really -- millions of jobs and we couldn't afford that in this country that.
So you said all right -- find Steve Rattner fein President Obama that well actually the bailout with the auto companies started with President Bush but.
Let's get to when you first walk in to -- said the Renaissance Center.
And you started asking people sort of my favorite chapters of the book you started asking people tell me what you do.
And tell me to whom you report.
And you said some people could even give you -- street cancer.
That's true they couldn't.
-- one person what's wrong with GM he said there's nothing wrong with us the economy -- -- and I -- what about the other auto companies.
There was no answer to that who do you work part well I work -- several people well that's that's it did give way you know what do you do.
It was difficult it was a bloated it was -- system and and it also seemed to -- that people who worked out one portion of a car.
Didn't understand it all the other parts of the car that's true.
So how could you get it all together once again you know we got all of management people once we changed the organization and room so what do we do -- this company.
And we settled in a short period -- -- we design and build and sell the world's best vehicles.
We preach that -- -- every employee GM from the top to the bottom we empowered people.
We held them accountable we gave them the authority to do their jobs we simplified got rid of -- bureaucracy and miracles occurred I.
I I also thought it was very funny where he said.
Why -- -- board members sitting in on board meetings people would -- we show up which is.
A big no no in the corporate world just don't do that sort of thing -- so so you cleaned all of that up.
-- -- You said it was very important to pursue the volt because and I wanted to -- -- -- this quote.
It it was a message that was sent the GM as a creative force is back.
Is it though are you happy with where the -- stands today with the sales that are not quite there and a couple of other issues -- -- car -- -- like to sell more corporations I think have a responsibility.
To push the technology for a.
With all the talk I think of climate and environment I think companies are obligated to going forward.
Would see where it goes but it's a great vehicle yes I think it was important I think it is important it's a -- -- you were there at the level where the government was stepping in and and Charlie Gasparino believes -- protocol but he -- the government just wanted to control the General Motors and make a government motors.
What will the taxpayer be made whole with all of this of the stock price it was IPO to 33 dollars a share were trading below that today.
I would like to say that the government didn't help us much except -- money they let management run the company they did a great job that they weren't looking over show that all adults from we -- -- get calls they were terrific about letting us do it.
You know it's it's mostly paid back now there's some ago I think -- GM should pay at all black I think they -- -- time.
Somebody -- figure out how to do that before long I thought they should've sold it.
The government should solely entire stake truly our stake yours and mine is taxpayers.
At Fiat PO they chose not to I can't tell you -- but I'm confident GM will play at all black.
The book is called American turnaround in -- as much a story of a guy like Ed Whitacre who.
Didn't want -- letter -- American iconic company go wonder that so he served when you -- and you've got to read the Barbary coast of the Detroit auto show.
Ever let's -- tell us about this car it's -- great.
-- only been there a couple weeks not a car guy could that you helped save it thank you very much thank you Ed Whitacre.
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