GM names Edward Whitacre as new chairman

General Motors announced today that, when "New GM" emerges for bankruptcy later this summer, as the automaker plans, it will appoint Edward E. Whitacre Jr. as chairman. Whitacre, former chairman and CEO of AT&T, will replace interim Chairman Kent Kresa at that time.

"The appointment of Ed Whitacre as chairman represents a very auspicious beginning for the New GM," said Kresa in a statement released by the automaker. "We look forward to working with him to complete the reinvention of GM and maximize the enormous potential of this new enterprise."

"I am honored to be able to serve GM at this critical juncture and take part in its reinvention," Whitacre said in the same release.

Whitacre also serves on the boards of ExxonMobil and Burlington Northern Santa Fe. He was AT&T's chairman and CEO until mid-2007 and he also served as the national president of the Boy Scouts of America in the late 1990s.

Aside from his board positions at ExxonMobil, Whitacre's auto industry experience is limited, however his efforts at AT&T were generally praised by analysts. Whitacre's engineering background does set him apart from many of Detroit's leaders, however; he holds an industrial engineering degree from Texas Tech University - in fact, the engineering school is named in his honor thanks to a hefty donation.