Ed WhitacreIt was expected that General Motors might make a major announcement Thursday, but it wasn't the one investors or the media had anticipated. Rather than details about the company's much-anticipated initial public offering of stock, those tuned into a GM conference call Thursday instead learned that Edward Whitacre would be stepping down as CEO effective Sept. 1 and as chairman as of Dec. 31.

Fellow GM board member Daniel Akerson, managing director at the Carlisle Group, will assume both roles. Akerson was named to GM's board in July 2009 as a representative of the U.S. Treasury, which owns a 61% stake in GM. For four years he served as chief executive at XO Communications, but left the telecommunications company shortly after it filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

Whitacre's tenure, which began as an interim post last December, was expected to be short-lived. In his trademark Texas drawl, Whitacre said the move was one that he and the board "had been contemplating literally since I joined GM," after the automaker emerged from a government-sponsored bankruptcy in July 2009. "At this stage of my career, it was obvious I was not going to be at GM for the long haul," said Whitacre, 68.

"Very Comfortable"


The former AT&T (T) executive said his goal in joining GM was to restore the iconic company's long-lost luster and return it to profitability. "Today we are clearly on that path," said Whitacre, referencing the company's upbeat earnings report, released earlier in the day. In the second quarter, GM said it had net earnings of $1.3 billion on revenue of $33.2 billion, surpassing analyst expectations of a $1 billion profit. The automaker also said its North America operations sold more cars in the three months ending June than it did in the previous two quarters.

Given the company's so-far positive momentum and recent management changes, Whitacre said he was "very comfortable with my timing." Whitacre noted that Akerson had played a key role in the decisions the board of the new company has made during the last year. "We've restored profitability. . . and things looks good," he said.

For his part, Akerson, 61, thanked GM's board for their vote of confidence in naming him to the top posts. Mirroring Whitacre's comments, the former Naval cadet said, "We still have important work ahead of us, but I am confident that we are building the foundation for GM's long-term success." Still, Akerson said, with Whitacre still at the helm of the company it would be "premature for me to discuss my plans or vision for the future of GM."

IPO Watch

Despite Whitacre's surprising announcement, GM watchers still anticipate that the company may release details of its initial stock offer Friday. On Wednesday, numerous news reports surfaced that the company was pushing ahead with the deal to rid itself of government oversight. Reports suggest GM is looking to raise $12 billion to $16 billion in the offering.

GM officials began Thursday's conference call, however, by noting that they wouldn't comment on an IPO. That didn't stop one beat reporter from slyly asking if he should refrain from taking Friday off as a vacation day, lest GM make any major announcements. Though amused by the reporter's clever inquiry, GM Chief Financial Officer Christopher Liddell nonetheless refused comment.

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John McBaine

A quarterly profit by GM --- Wow --- How surprising, how wonderful.

It only took the Obama removal of not one, but two CEO's and a hand picked successor like Whiticare, who, as Chairman of the GM Board, virtually handed the company over to the Obama Crowd without even a fight.

His successor has only been on the GM Board for a year and, like Whiticare, has no automotive background. Do I smell another Obama hand-pick?

All it took to achieve this quarterly profit announcement was a "Managed Bankruptcy" orchestrated by the Obama Administration and completed in a manner of months instead of years. Was the "Managed Bankruptcy" and forced removal of two GM CEO's legal? Don't know. Doesn't matter.

So, GM's return to profitability was paid for by zeroing out GM's stock. Stock held for years by employess and retirees who invested in GM for their retirements. It also caused the value of GM Retail Bonds to be wiped out, after calling Bond holders, (many were also GM employess and retirees saving for their retirement) evil "speculators". Add to that the arbitrary closing of GM Dealerships (many of which have been reopened due to litigation by the dealers), walking away from debts owed to thousands of suppliers, and, in general, walking away from their debts and obligations to just about everyone.

But that's not exactly true. I forgot that the new GM stock will be 70% owned by Obama's Federal Government, 20% will be owned by the UAW (now, how in the world did that happen?), and the balance mainly owned by the Canadian Government.

Yep. We're very excited by GM's return to profitability. All it took was the strong armed take over of our company, WITHOUT EVEN A FIGHT BY GM BOARD CHAIRMAN WHITACRE, and the total loss of years of our hard earned retirement savings.

Way to go Mr. Whitacre and the rest of the GM Board. You turned my company over to the Chicago Thugs and the UAW without even a fight. Was it legal? Was it even really necessary? Don't know. Doesn't matter.

See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/brQ9Bh

August 13 2010 at 10:30 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
fishlover

Well , He got his bonnes and run.

August 13 2010 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brew

LOSER , WHAT DOES A COMPANY NEED TO MAKE BILLION DOLLERS PROFIT FOR ? THE CARS A CHEAPER MADE AND ARE JUNK ,, I WOULD RATHER BUY A FORIEGN CAR,, THEN BOOST YOUR PROFIT LEVELS MORE ,, AND I AM A UNION WORKER BUT NOT A GREEDY ONE LIKE MOST CEO'S OR COMPANY'S ,, LETS SEE THAT MEANS YOU COULD LOWER THE COST OF VEHICLES ABOUT 5000.$ AND STILL MAKE A PROFIT IM SURE ,

August 13 2010 at 4:48 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
LaharlD2

At least it gives someone else a shot at big bucks. A lot like shuffling.

August 13 2010 at 3:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ron & Dolores

If you really wanted to help a car company out, buy a Chrylser or Dodge, there the ones that need help.

August 13 2010 at 2:52 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
dsamliv

did he get his huge bouns? im sure he did. hes a friggin liar.

August 13 2010 at 12:25 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Ray Leonard

Well, Well, Well! He's gone and left us with this problem 03'Chevrolet Impala not starting. This problem needs to be solve, forget the wealthy guy.

August 12 2010 at 11:05 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
actionhero

Probably a couple of things made him resign. Being CEO of a government run private business that doesn't want to be government run. No control over the union workers and the legacy costs. And constent interference with the product line. This guy knows the only people driving a Volt will be government employees. Oh ya, he also knows the economy is getting worse not better. He's getting out while the gettings good. Wouldn't you?

August 12 2010 at 10:56 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to actionhero's comment
dalea158

GM did get rid of their huge legacy costs.

August 13 2010 at 10:21 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Courtney

GM need a "Car Guy" running things, not a number cruncher. So many people who buy American cars exclusively cite the bland styling of Japanese cars as a major factor in why they choose brands like Dodge or Chevy. A president without a passion for cars, concerned only with profit, will run the company even further in the ground.

August 12 2010 at 10:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
glid13

SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE,CREATIVE ACCOUNTING AT GOVERNMENT MOTORS.

August 12 2010 at 10:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply