GM CEO Edward Whitacre Jr., celebrates with workers at a news conference at a plant near Kansas City, Kan. in April 2010.
In an apparent case of leaving while on top, GM chief executive Ed Whitacre has said Thursday he intends to step down Sept. 1 from that key job.
That news came on the same day the federally-bailed-out automaker said it posted second-quarter net income $1.3 billion, or 2.55 a share.
And in one more example of the growing sway private-equity firms today, Whitacre said he will be succeeded as CEO by Daniel Akerson, a managing director of Carlyle Group who also leads that firm's global buyout group.
The selection of a Carlyle Group official to run GM could invite some controversy since private-equity concerns as a group have faced growing criticism for wringing profits out of companies they've invested in often at the expense of employees and the company itself.
On the other hand, a look at Akerson's biography clearly has experience running companies facing challenges and undergoing restructuring. As a private-equity official, he held top positions at General Instrument, MCI, Nextel and XO Communications.
GM, whose shares stopped being traded publicly when the company went through a federally guided restructuring, is preparing to once again sell shares to the public through a initial public offering.
So Thursday's moves should be seen as part of the preparations for that.
Whitacre, the former CEO of AT&T, was on GM's board last year when it was announced that he would lead the company, taking over from Fritz Henderson who was seen as not moving aggressively enough on a number of restructuring fronts after the federal bailout.