America’s a wonderful place, isn’t it? It’s the sort of wonderland where everyone can have opportunities, where paupers can become industrious princes at the tip of their soot-ridden caps. It’s a country where even those who admit to knowing nothing about the car industry whatsoever can lead a semi-nationalized beheamouth known as General Motors.
“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,” Edward E. Whitacre Jr. said, and he certainly has the acumen to back up his assertion that effective corporate leadership is not necessarily synonymous with a limitless knowledge of the products they’re creating.
A successful 43-year stint at AT&T may show that he can manage effectively, which is something that General Motors has been lacking for decades, but now that the company is mostly held up by the federal government, and thereby a public venture, just how are people going to react when they see that the Chairman of the Board of the company they just bailed out is in the dark as to how the car industry works?
This begs the question of why Whitacre would even admit to such a thing. Though he can be granted some kudos for being honest, why he would seek out to dismantle public trust of his credentials is unknown to me. Pleading ignorance may work when you’re a kid and you knock over a vase, sprinting into the next room and telling your mom that you have no idea what happened. But when you’re going to be the chairman of a gigantic ticking time bomb of a company that now is gobbling billions of taxpayer dollars, acting like Gomer Pyle might not be the best course of action.