GM's Whitacre to Step Down as CEO as of Sept 1

'It was my public duty to help return this company to greatness and I didn't want to stay a day beyond that,' Whitacre said.

Ed Whitacre said on august 12 that he will step down as CEO of General Motors on September 1 and named board member Daniel Akerson as his replacement.

Whitacre, 70, took over GM on December 1, 2009 as it prepared for a government-financed restructuring under bankruptcy protection.

The announcement came after General Motors reported its profits hit $1.3 billion in the second quarter, as the auto firm prepared to break free of government ownership by relisting on the stock exchange.

"It was my public duty to help return this company to greatness and I didn't want to stay a day beyond that," Whitacre said in a conference call.

"We've positioned the company for success and things look good. There's a foundation in place, a good foundation. I see no reason to delay."

Whitacre, who will step down as chairman of the board by the end of the year, insisted that the transition will be "smooth."

"I know Dan will do a terrific job of leading this company forward," Whitacre said.

"He has a great team around him and the complete support of the board and GM's employees... I think he's absolutely the right choice."

Akerson joined the GM board in July 2009 after 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."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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