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GM CEO Whitacre Steps Down in September!

Board member Dan Akerson takes over; Government appointed Whitacre remains as Chairman of Board until year end.

by on Aug.12, 2010

Another outsider takes over as General Motors CEO.

It was always his intent to move on the moment General Motors Company was back on its feet,  GM CEO Ed Whitacre, 68, said today at the close of a press conference discussing second quarter results. So with GM’s second straight quarterly profit just announced,  Whitacre will resign as CEO of the U.S.’s largest automaker, effective September first.

Taking Whitacre’s place is board member Dan Akerson, 61, who joined last year as GM was emerging from bankruptcy in July.

Whitacre will stay on as Chairman of the Board until year end, at which time Akerson will also assume that post.

“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.”


GM CEO Whitacre Takes Over Product Planning

Engineering loses power and is forced to look outside.

by on Jun.04, 2010

"My motivation for doing this has not changed."

"We needed more input from marketing and the different regions in the planning mix."

General Motors has re-shuffled key executives once again this week as it moved responsibility for global product planning from under vice chairman Tom Stephens and into the office of GM Chairman Ed Whitacre.

The change came as GM also announced it was setting up its own venture capital fund to invest in companies that could potentially bring new technology into the automotive market.

“We are constantly looking for ways to deliver the best technology for our customers,” said Stephen J. Girsky, vice chairman and vice president Corporate Strategy and New Business Development.

“Our goal is to nurture these innovative technologies to help bring them to market, and to ensure our customers have access to the best technology available,” said Girsky, a former Wall Street financial executive. The fund will be headed by Jon Lauckner, who has been serving as vice president of global product planning, reporting to Stephens.

Lauckner’s replacement as vice president of global product planning will now report to Whitacre and will work more closely with GM’s 12-member executive committee.

“The idea was we needed more input from marketing and the different regions in the planning mix,” said one GM official.

“It will elevate the role of planning and make it more visible in the company,” said another GM official.

GM also confirmed it was shifting Dan Hancock, now in charge of GM’s powertrain engineering, to a newly created position of vice president for global alliances and joint ventures. “We have a lot of talent in the company and we’re trying to get some fresh eyes on the things,” according to one official familiar with the shift.

The appointments of Lauckner, Hancock and Carlisle, however, indicated Whitacre wants to force GM’s still potent engineering community to open up to more outside influences.

Carlisle’s appointment, however, brought additional changes to GM North American sales organization, which has been led by a succession of executives in the past year. Don Johnson, who will return to the U.S. from an assignment with GM’s international operations, GM spokeswoman Sherrie Childers Arb said.

Jamie Hresko will become vice president of global powertrain engineering operations, replacing Hancock and Hresko’s current job of vice president of global quality will go to Dan Nicholson, who is presently in charge of integration of electronics and software on GM vehicles.