There has been a lot of discussion from industry analysts about who will replace Ford CEO Alan Mulally, but he's not the only CEO of a major American automaker that will eventually need a successor.
Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors since shortly after its emergence from bankruptcy in 2009, told Automotive News in an interview that he hopes his successor comes from within the automaker's ranks, as opposed to bringing in an outsider. Candidates are said to include GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, North American head Mark Reuss and global product leader Mary Barra.
Interestingly, Akerson himself was imported from a private equity firm called The Carlyle Group, and he has indeed had to learn how the auto industry operates, as he told AN:
Despite this acknowledgement, Akerson is still not one to pull punches. GM's CEO famously said of Ford's luxury brand, "They are trying like hell to resurrect Lincoln. Well, I might as well tell you, you might as well sprinkle holy water. It's over." And he's not backing down. "A little bit of holy water wouldn't hurt, I won't back off that."
"This is the funniest industry. Most industries people are straight up with it. Here everybody slaps everybody on the back, you just got to make sure they don't have a knife with it."
If a rumored billion-dollar investment and a slew of heavily updated models is equivalent to "holy water," we'd say Ford must agree with Akerson's assessment.