Another round of CEO Musical Chairs is being played at General Motors.
When Daniel F. Akerson officially begins his tenure as GM's chief executive officer on September 1st, he will be the fourth person to sit in that chair in less than two years. Rick Wagoner stepped down from the position at the request of the United States government and was replaced by Fritz Henderson, who then resigned in December of 2009. Ed Whitacre took the reigns in early 2010, and now Akerson will replace him as both CEO and chairman of the board by year's end.
But who is Dan Akerson? After all, most of us had never heard his name before this big announcement, and he must be awfully qualified if he's been offered the top-ranking position at one of the world's largest automakers.
Akerson, 61, has been a member of GM's board of directors since July of 2009 where he worked closely with Whitacre. In addition, he currently serves as managing director for the Carlyle Group, a United States buyout firm, and is one of the directors at American Express.
GM picked a successor for Whitacre who has had plenty of experience with business management. Akerson is the former CEO of Nextel Communications, a wireless carrier now owned by Sprint, as well as a former CEO of telecom services provider XO Communications.
He was also appointed to GM's board of directors after the company emerged from bankruptcy reorganization last year. He may not be much of a car guy by our definition, but in terms of someone capable of running a major corporation, both Whitacre and the rest of the GM board of directors are confident that Akerson will use his years of experience to continue to reshape GM during this crucial time of restructuring. Godspeed, Dan.
[Source: General Motors, The Wall Street Journal]
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."