• Aug 12, 2010
Dan AkersonDuring a conference call to discuss General Motors' second quarter earnings, Ed Whitacre announced that he will be stepping down from the position of CEO effective September 1st, and that his title of Chairman of the Board will terminate at the end of 2010.

Whitacre will be replaced by Dan Akerson (right), 61, who currently serves on the GM board of directors and holds the position of managing director for the Carlyle Group. No, he isn't a car guy, but then again, neither was Whitacre. "There are remarkable opportunities ahead for the new GM, and I am honored to lead the company through this next chapter," said Akerson.

Hit the jump for the full details in GM's press release.

[Source: General Motors]
Show full PR text
GM Announces CEO Succession Process
Dan Akerson to Become CEO, Whitacre Remains Chairman


DETROIT – General Motors today said that Edward E. Whitacre, Jr. will step down as chief executive officer on September 1, 2010, and as chairman of the board by the end of the year, having successfully led the company's return to profitability after the most turbulent period in its history.

Earlier today, GM reported its second consecutive quarter of profits after a string of losses dating back to 2007.

Dan Akerson, 61, who has served on the GM board of directors since July 2009, will become CEO on September 1 and chairman by the end of the year, ensuring a smooth transition and continued positive momentum for company.

"My goal in coming to General Motors was to help restore profitability, build a strong market position, and position this iconic company for success," said Whitacre. "We are clearly on that path. A strong foundation is in place and I am comfortable with the timing of my decision."

Whitacre, 68, joined GM as chairman of the board on July 10, 2009. On December 1, 2009, he was named chief executive officer. He led the company after it emerged from a historic bankruptcy to become a profitable automaker again.

"Ed Whitacre was exactly what this company needed, at exactly the right time," said Pat Russo, lead director on the GM board. "He simplified the organization, reshaped the company's vision, put the right people in place, and brought renewed energy and optimism to GM."

"Dan Akerson has been actively engaged in and supportive of the key decisions and changes made at the new GM. He brings broad business experience, decisive leadership, and continuity to this role," said Russo. "The board of directors deeply appreciates the leadership Ed has provided and is pleased with the serious commitment Dan is making to the company. We look forward to his leadership."

In addition to serving on the GM board since July 2009, Akerson has had a distinguished career in finance as a managing director at the Carlyle Group and in telecommunication, serving as chairman and chief executive officer of XO Communications and at Nextel Communications. He was also chairman and CEO of General Instrument Corp.

"There are remarkable opportunities ahead for the new GM, and I am honored to lead the company through this next chapter," said Akerson. "Ed Whitacre established a foundation upon which we will continue building a great automobile company."


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  • 44 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes, money managers main priority is profits above all else. Which is great from a business standpoint, but it’s that balance between breakeven products that appeal to the enthusiasts and mass models that sell for profitability.

      IE - "What’s that you say? Corvette after incentives has zero profit per vehicle? Let’s not put R&D into that and stretch the MY to 7 years (oh wait its headed there already).

      So yes, for the health of the company smart money people in charge are a good thing - but they can't rule with an iron fist over the creative engineers and designers or you end up with bland Dodge-like products and a talentless pool of non-creative thinkers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have always been, and always will be a loyal GM customer. I have owned all other domestic brands, and some foreign and always go back to GM. I now own 5 GM vehicles, totalling over 800,000 miles, and all are in excellent condition. It is very fortunate for our country that GM did not go under, I did not vote for the president, but I commend him for assisting GM in their troubled times. It would have been a catastophy for our country if they would have gone under. They are well on their road to recovery, building some oustanding products, and beginning to show profability, and this is great for our nation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not a good idea to suddenly change ceos while on the brink of an important IPO. As well as Leadership GM badly needs a sense of continuity. A revolving door of ceos isn't good at achieving this since the incoming person cannot possbly agree 100% with the prior appointee.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Precisely what I was thinking.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, it does make sense. Knowing that Whitcare wasn't in the for long haul, it makes sense to announce your new, non-interim CEO prior to an IPO to lessen any uncertainty stemming from not knowing who is going to be the head of corporate management.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Whether teabaggers admit it or not. Whitacre & Obama saved American auto manufacturing & thousands of jobs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I believe the long term fear is the UAW will rise up and want a full reinstatement of their benefits. Dealers are already screaming about the lack of inventory. They don't have the over inflated lots they are used to and GM's order-on-demand lean production isn't making them happier. Maybe dealerships should shrink their overhead and footprint to increase their bottom line.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Volt is only the latest piece of evidence that GM should have never been bailed out in the first place. Now we'll get another decade of stupid decisions, only this time we've all paid for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Teabagger reoprting in....just want ot point out that it wasnt BHO who initiated the Auto bailout....it was bush ><

        vote libertarian anyone? anyone? no one...ok ><
        http://punditkitchen.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/political-pictures-ron-paul-read-constitution.jpg?w=500&h=318
        • 4 Years Ago
        Typical comments from the left wing posters here. They have to resort to childish name calling when others don't walk in lock step with the BO, Frank, Pelosi agenda and can't stick to the facts at hand.

        I won't gloat (too much) when you get stomped severely in November.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Doug get your panties out of a knot... they call themselves that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There was a time when saving a person's life from a wound infection meant amputation.

        Now there is something called antibiotics.

        So yes.. the government bailouts did save the u.s. auto industry and thousands of jobs.. but was it done in the most efficient manner. Not even remotely.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Now hold on a second here lefties, why are you writing your opinions here today. You should wait until tomorrow, so you get a chance to listen to Butch Maddow and Olbermann. Once they'll form an opinion for you you can come here and post it "the opinion" all day long.

        • 4 Years Ago
        "Teabaggers"? Sophisticated humor. Congratulations on the use of a pejorative term.

        I'm not a "Teabagger", but I still disagree that government intervention was appropriate. There is no proof that this was the only option. It's just analyzed information that was painted to support the measure. There were several valid concerns about potential job loss or failed businesses (suppliers), among other things. It can't be proven that some other manufacturers or a consortium of investors (similar to Cerberus) wouldn't have stepped in and parted-out the good pieces of GM. It worked for SAAB and almost worked for Saturn.

        If nothing else, I feel it should have been a loan similar to the approach that Ford took in 2006. They essentially mortgaged everything they had to get $23 billion to keep the lights on. Now they have a new Taurus and several powertrains.

        But...clearly...opposing viewpoints are evidence of "teabagging", worshipping, or even racism.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's more like hundreds of thousands of jobs, and an entire industry.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Angelo, the Big 3 employee more engineers and designers in this country than all the transplants combined. The transplants do deserve some kudos for bringing jobs here, but it's not on the same scale as the Big 3. If GM and Chrysler had gone under there wouldn't have been a 1 for 1 job replacement by other companies... not even close.
        • 4 Years Ago
        DAMN IT! One less thing for the teabaggers to complain about!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Try explaining that to a Tea-bagger or a Palin worshipper. Logic and facts just bounce off of them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I take back what i wrote above my relationship with Wiggy, Hazdaz and Luis was getting better and better.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Doug

        "If nothing else, I feel it should have been a loan similar to the approach that Ford took in 2006."


        You mean another loan to GM on top of the $300 BILLION debt it already had, was going to solve its problems and return it to profitability?
        Time to check yourself into Soylent Green.
      • 4 Years Ago
      and I mean well thought out ones....
      You do know that capital investment firms have the objective to make money right?
      And you can make money multiple ways (1) Strip and Flip ala Chrysler (2) Actually be successful & build the company by selling product that people want, then sell shares (via IPO) of that more successful company.

      Just because Cerberus made the choice to strip/flip a company that had crap products and crap brands (not all, but for the most part) doesn't mean that a leader that happens to work for a competing shop will have the same strategy with a different company.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, people are talking like the Carlyle Group bought GM since Dan is a Managing Director, but this is far from the truth.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Angelo, the big 3 employee more engineers and designers in this country than all the transplants combined. The transplants do deserve some kudos for bringing jobs here, but it's not on the same scale as the big 3.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bean counter. :(

      I suppose this is what GM needs to float a successful IPO though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "He is also a former Nuclear Submarine Naval Officer"

        So then he is used to things being underwater.. i can see how that would come in handy during the current situation

        • 4 Years Ago
        He is also a former Nuclear Submarine Naval Officer as Bob Lutz was saying on CNBC a few minutes ago. The guy will be quick to make decisions and has great leadership qualities. I think he will do a fine job getting GM to set sail through the IPO and beyond.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thats too bad to see.
      As far as I'm concerned the bailout and the subsequent business management has served to greatly improve GM. Whitacre (with his limited auto experience) seemed to be the right guy for the job, I wonder why they found it necessary to switch.

      I also wonder what the new guy is brining to the table that Whitacre couldn't do himself. Anybody have any thoughts?
      -E
        • 4 Years Ago
        @wobbly,

        Palin's show will probably be right after Glenn Beck's... both cater to an audience with similar iq and interests :) .
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sarah Palin's show will probably be right after Glenn Beck's... both cater to an audience with similar iq and interests.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wouldn't cannonize Whitacre yet, he is getting 9 million in compensation this year:

        http://finance.yahoo.com/news/GM-CEO-Whitacre-receives-9M-apf-362235582.html?x=0&.v=5

        Also, I would assume the reason he got the job has more to do with throwing the Republicans a bone than due any great skill. Whitacre is one of the most politically-connected executives in the Republican party. Put in a top Republican, and the Republican establishment will be less likely to capitalize on a politically unpopular bailout.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wouldn't cannonize Whitacre yet, he is getting 9 million in compensation this year:
        http://finance.yahoo.com/news/GM-CEO-Whitacre-receives-9M-apf-362235582.html?x=0&.v=5

        Also, I would assume the reason he got the job has more to do with throwing the Republicans a bone than due any great skill. Whitacre is one of the most politically-connected executives in the Republican party. Put in a top Republican, and the Republican establishment will be less likely to capitalize on a politically unpopular bailout.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Whitacre had retired when Obama asked him to save GM. Whitacre wasn't doing this job to make money, but as a duty to his country. He didn't get paid a salary too. Obama had to practically beg him to take this job. A couple of hundred thousand jobs were saved in this country & the last manufacturing industry that is left in this country wasn't shipped off overseas.

        But I guess it doesn't matter to you teabaggers. Would rather see the country go down the tubes than to credit Obama's auto bailouts.

        BTW, when is Sarah Palin's reality show debuting??
        • 4 Years Ago
        He didn't want the job... he has always said that he wouldn't stay a day longer than it took to get GM turned around. Apparently he feels his job is done and it's time for him to settle back into retired life.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow - Carlyle Group? They are plenty familiar with bailouts. Also, lets not forget who was at the wheel driving Chrysler into the ditch. Ahh, thats right - another investment weenie fund group, Cerberus Capital Management.

      Great idea putting capital investment groups in charge of bailed out auto firms.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Musical chairs.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why GM change their CEO quickly?
      only longtime CEO can push ahead long-term strategy, even if dictatorship.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I made my self laugh when reading the headline - I could swear it said that Dan Aykroyd was Starting Sept 1st. I had instant thoughts of the gophers from Caddy Shack poppin up at the local Caddy Shack...
        • 4 Years Ago
        True, He was in Caddy Shack 2 but aggreed the the first on was better - i'll just blame it on my ADD ;)

        Now to find Strange Brew on DVD...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wrong Saturday Night Live alumnus.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @katshot, Aykroyd was in Caddyshack 2, so even though it's not as good a movie the he's not the wrong SNL alum.
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