Edward E. Whitacre Jr. is former chairman of the board and CEO of General Motors Company and a chairman of Vision & Tradition: The Campaign for Texas Tech.
Whitacre became chairman of the board on September 1, 2010, after serving as chairman and CEO of General Motors Company since December 2009. He originally joined GM as chairman when the new company launched in July 2009.
Before joining GM, Whitacre served as chairman and CEO of AT&T from 1990 until his retirement in June 2007. During his tenure, Whitacre led then-SBC Communications on a disciplined growth strategy and through a series of industry-changing mergers and acquisitions, including the 2005 acquisition of AT&T Corp., after which the company adopted the venerable name, AT&T Inc.
Under Whitacre’s leadership, SBC made significant domestic and international investments. In addition, SBC established several groundbreaking strategic partnerships with companies such as Yahoo! and Echostar, enabling SBC to set the pace for DSL sales as well as enter the video market. SBC joined with BellSouth to create Cingular Wireless, which in 2004 acquired AT&T Wireless. SBC and the new AT&T have been repeatedly named by Fortune magazine as the most admired telecommunications company in America and the world. Forbes magazine named AT&T “Company of the Year” for 2006.
Whitacre serves on the boards of Exxon Mobil Corporation and the PGA Tour, and previously served on the board of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation. He serves on the board of the Institute for International Economics and is a member of The Business Council. He previously served on the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and the board of Anheuser-Busch Companies.
A native of Ennis, Texas, Whitacre graduated from Texas Tech University in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. He began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1963 as a facility engineer in Lubbock, Texas.
Whitacre’s leadership extends into the community where he has been actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America and United Way. He is a former chairman of the Texas Tech University Board of Regents, and in 2008, Texas Tech recognized $25 million in contributions from AT&T by naming the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering in his honor.
In recognition of his commitment to business and community, Whitacre was named one of the Top 25 Executives of the Year by BusinessWeek. He also has earned a number of awards for his contributions to business and civic affairs, including the Corporate Leadership Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Obelisk Leadership Award.