|April 23, 2010|
|Return of Corporate Jet Fitting for GM Comeback|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre today announced that the automaker has made its final payment, $4.7B to the U.S. Treasury and $1.1B to Export Development Canada, five years ahead of schedule. Bravo, Ed. |
In appreciation, this blogger, on behalf of U.S. taxpayers (owners of 60 percent of GM), proposes a reward for the 68-year-old Whitacre for a job well done. How about allowing GM to buy a jet for Whitacre? Think of the rich symbolism.
Former GM CEO Rick Wagoner was forced out of office after he hopped on the corporate jet in November '08 to beg Congress for a bailout. How tone-deaf to PR!
Rightly skewered, Wagoner car-pooled the December trip to D.C. for his second round of testimony. It was too little, too late. The PR damage had been done. Uncle Sam's bailout required GM and Chrysler to get rid of the jets.
Whitacre, who has been killing off brands, now says GM is on the road to recovery. As evidenced by sales numbers, GM is finally making cars that people want to buy.
March sales for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac surged 43 percent. The No. 1 U.S. automaker today said it's investing about $260M in plants in Fairfax (Kan.) and Detroit-Hamtramck to keep momentum going. The Kansas plant makes the hot-selling Chevy Malibu and Buick LaCrosse vehicles. The Michigan facility will now be a second source production center for the Malibu.
GM invested $1.5B since last July in 20 facilities in the U.S. and Canada, restoring 7,500 jobs.
Whitacre admits there is "hard work ahead." The Wall Street Journal reported today that Whitacre paid for a chartered plane to fly from Kansas City to D.C. The former AT&T chief could have used Ma Bellís corporate plane, a right that is part of his retirement package.
Obviously aware of the flak received by Wagoner, Whitacre nixed the ATT plane.
Let's give Ed a jet. He has a lot of miles to travel before the U.S. winds down its investment in GM. We need him as fresh and alert as possible.
If U.S. taxpayers are still in GM's stock when Whitacre's successor takes over, the plane deal can be reviewed.
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