Already there are many signs that suggest General Motors CEO Dan Akerson will retire next year, but he hasn't formally announced his plans to GM's board, The Economic Times reports, and the search for a new CEO apparently hasn't started. If Akerson retires next year, as is speculated, the move would come sooner than when was expected when he took the job back in 2010.

"I assume at some point he (Akerson) will decide he has done what he has wanted to do and will step down, but no one has a date for that," says an unidentified source who is familiar with the situation. Executives at Peugeot, GM's European partner, reportedly said after talks with GM earlier this year that they believe Akerson will retire before 2016 - more likely next year - according to knowledgable sources at the French automaker. And if Akerson's retirement is indeed nigh, GM representatives reportedly say, "We're very comfortable with our succession planning, which we have in place for all our key officers."

Let's take a look at some signs that point to his early retirement: back in April, GM restructured Akerson's pay to compensate for about $2 million in restricted stock that wouldn't vest until 2016, which he would have to forfeit if he retired early. Additionally, he didn't receive any restricted stock units in 2012. And while Mark Reuss is widely acknowledged to be the frontrunner to take the CEO helm, Akerson has been talking about replacements, too, and has said that a female CEO at GM is inevitable. On its own, that's an appreciated, progressive statement, but when considering Akerson's retirement situation, it reinforces that Mary Barra, GM's executive vice president of product development and one of the 50 most powerful women in business, is in contention for the job. The other two potential CEOs are Vice Chairman Steve Girsky and CFO Dan Ammann.

At this point, it seems GM is just waiting until Akerson has decided that he has done what he wants to do, in the words of the aforementioned, unnamed source, and investors aren't rushing to replace him.


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  • 17 Comments
      darkness
      • 1 Year Ago
      Mark Reuss is my pick.
      JayLagan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think GM should look outside for its new CEO. Some good suggestions have already been brought up here (Lutz, Musk, etc). But here are some more suggestions: Alan Mullaly: He seems to be on his way out at Ford. Why not sound him out? He might be interested? Downside: I think he wants to leave the auto industry and seems to have his heart set on Microsoft of returning to Boeing. Rick Wagoner: Now hear me out before you get all snotty, people! Rick Wagoner's failing was that he was in the right place at the wrong time. In that era, GM needed a Carlos Ghosn. A swift and savage turnaround artiste. RW knew the value of good product, which is why he hired Lutz and gave him de facto control over the line up. RW also tried to get GM's finances under control but it was just too much of a mess for one person to do in such a short space of time. He may have been CEO material, but didn't have that ruthless streak that was needed at the time. As Lutz put it, "a great peacetime general". Maybe now is RW's time? Downside: The treasury wouldn't wear it. Zhang Ruimin: Never heard of him? Don't blame you. But he does have a pedigree. This chap took a Chinese white goods company (Haier) and turned it around to become a global giant. He did this by focusing on one thing, quality products. He is famous for taking 76 defective fridges from the factory line and, in front of the Chinese press, smashed them up to let people know that Haier would not tolerate shoddy products any more. Since then, Haier have been on an upward trajectory. Another thing he did was eliminate vast numbers of middle management and empowered factory workers to take over those roles. He figured that factory workers would want to do a good job because there was always someone else in their team willing to take over if they failed (The "Catfish" principle). So far, this methodology is working well and has fostered more factory worker to work together, rather than against management and each other. Maybe he can take GM to the next level? Also, it wouldn't hurt GM's cache in China, too, to have a Chinese CEO. Downside: United States' government wouldn't take to a Chinese CEO....yet. Those are a few thoughts of mine. I reckon GM will go for a safe, conservative choice (Mark Reuss, Mary Barra, etc). But if they really wanted to become something new and exciting, maybe they should start thinking outside of the box....? But like I always say, what do I know....? :O)
        sp33dklz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JayLagan
        The last thing GM needs is anyone internal, or anyone from the past. Their continued incest is pathetic at best. Their engineers and product planners are their only successes, their upper end leadership is complete crap.
      Seven Eigh8 Si6
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bring lutz back.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Street King
      • 1 Year Ago
      This guy has already been there WAY too long. Just like Robert C Kidder that was installed over at Chrysler by the Gov't (and booted out the door the second Fiat was allowed to) this guy has way over stayed his welcome. He was never a CEO - he's just a placeholder, and he should've been replaced back in 2010. Give the job to Mr. Z/28 Mark Ruess
      CruzControl
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only one man can save GM...Elon Musk.
        Tiberius1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CruzControl
        Why not just dig up Steve Job's corpse and prop him up behind the CEO's desk?
      m.mjrei
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why does GM have to try so hard with Mary? From HR to Heading up Product Development(Wait what?) to CEO? Back when I used to work there it was always the same, promotions based on quotas, it was an unnatural process that was one of the most important things to the management for some unknown reason. This is more of the same. Why not let the best 'person' get the job? Regardless of race or gender. Mark Reuss would make the most sense by far to me but it will probably be Mary.
        Technoir
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m.mjrei
        Isn't it amazing that people with no creative, development, supply chain and manufacturing background get promoted to head of product development?
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m.mjrei
        I am also an ex-employee. I think Mark Reuss would be the best internal candidate. Mary Barra would be a disaster!
      Daryl A
      • 1 Year Ago
      Monkey in in a suit would work just as well if not better.
        sp33dklz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Daryl A
        Nah, they just need another old white dude who looks like a congressman.
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'll be sending my resume
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      There is hope for GM yet. Hackerson needs to go along with all his failed ideas and take a few hundred GM execs with him.
      Jerry
      • 1 Year Ago
      Expedite that search!
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      And the True Believers, toiling away at GM making products, said "Hooray!"
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