GM CEO Whitacre to step down, clearing way for long-term company plan

General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre, Jr.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: When General Motors said yesterday it made more than a billion dollars from April to June, the company added a surprise announcement: CEO Ed Whitacre is leaving GM just as it prepares for what might be the biggest public stock offering in U.S. history. Marketplace's Jeff Horwich explains the move.


Jeff Horwich: Whitacre has been the face of GM through a major turn-around, from bankruptcy and government bailout to more than $2 billion in profits so far this year. But he made clear he didn't plan to be GM's leader for the long haul -- he never even moved from San Antonio to Detroit. With a critical stock offering coming up, GM's board reportedly decided to put its long-term face forward.

That's Daniel Akerson, a telecom industry veteran put on GM's board by the U.S. government, which owns about two-thirds of the company. He's known as quiet, but also fierce and decisive -- with a taste for dramatic change. Dave Cole of the Center for Automotive Research says that's in line with the cultural change at GM since its bankruptcy.

Dave Cole: The game has changed absolutely dramatically. It's a 180-degree shift that in many respects is absolutely amazing.

Akerson takes over in September. The change could delay GM's stock offering -- that might not please the Obama administration, which is pushing to recoup its $50 billion investment in the company.

I'm Jeff Horwich for Marketplace.

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