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Cramer on BloggingStocks: Whitacre as CEO could rescue GM


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Cramer on BloggingStocks: Whitacre as CEO could rescue GM

Posted Dec 3rd 2009 9:30AM by Jim Cramer

Filed under: Management, General Motors (GM), Market matters, Cramer on BloggingStocks

Did you ever speak to Ed Whitacre when he was running Southwestern Bell? When he took that broken-up piece of Ma Bell and decided, single-handedly, that he was going to build it into a great national company with low costs and a motivated, lean management, and he wasn't going to let the unions stop him?

I did.

He was the best.

He was fierce and proud and was going to do whatever was necessary to rebuild the greatness of this once amazing company.

Now, I will admit that the headwinds for telcos have been out of control as their whole business of landlines seems to disappear by the day. But Whitacre made a ton of acquisitions -- admittedly overpaying for some of them -- and turned his company into arguably the best telco player in the country if not the world. It has been a serial provider of dividends and a serial innovator.

I bring all of this up for one reason. When he got the GM job, the first thing I thought of was, the unions had better watch themselves. This guy's no figurehead -- he's going to take it to them. Factory guys had better watch out; he will not tolerate putting out anything but the best cars. Senior management, you'd better watch out, he doesn't need you. He likes to run the place with a shoestring administration.

You never heard much about him when he came in, some old guy from a phone company. He was anything but.

Privately, I always regarded Whitacre as an assassin of the bad. The most no-nonsense major executive in this country.

I hope he picks himself as CEO as he surely dumped Fritz on Tuesday. Two things Whitacre knows how to deal with will lose a ton of power if he does: the federal government and the unions.

And that means if GM were to do an equity offering today with Whitacre as chairman, as much as I hated the company, I would recommend that you buy buy buy on the deal.

Jim Cramer is co-founder and chairman of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.



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