Akerson To Be GM's 4th CEO In 18 Months
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
We reached Micheline Maynard, senior editor of Changing Gears, to find out what this change in leadership is likely to mean for GM.
MICHELINE MAYNARD: It is kind of interesting that they chose Dan Akerson, who is one of their board members, rather than one of the new executives that Mr. Whitacre brought in to run General Motors.
MONTAGNE: Though, with that naming of Dan Akerson, he - Whitacre - said that this was the right guy for the job. I mean, was he expecting him to be named, do you think?
MAYNARD: No, he's not someone who anyone Detroit really has ever heard of. He's an experienced telecommunications executive. And right before he joined the General Motors board, he was based in Washington for Carlyle, which is the big global investment firm. He's someone who's well-known in the financial community, in the telecom community, but definitely not in the car business.
MONTAGNE: Let's talk about the shape GM is in. It's now had a couple of profitable quarters, which sound good.
MAYNARD: So side by side, Ford is still outearning General Motors.
MONTAGNE: As early as today, GM will be filing paperwork to sell shares again to the public. Why is it going public again now, rather than, say, wait a couple more quarters - hope that they're also profitable and they show good earnings?
MAYNARD: That is the $64,000 question. Or I suppose, in the case of the automakers, the $64 billion question - which is what they got in bailout money from the government.
INSKEEP: So it's important, not only for General Motors, but for the Obama administration - that GM sell stock again.
MONTAGNE: With this new change at the top, and this will be the fourth CEO in less than a year and half, might that affect the priorities when it comes one particular project - the Volt?
MAYNARD: You know, I think a lot of us were perceiving Ed Whitacre behind the wheel of a Volt in the commercials and at a lot of press events, but I guess it falls to Mr. Akerson to now get behind the wheel at GM, and behind the wheel of the Volt.
MONTAGNE: Thanks very much for talking with us.
MAYNARD: Okay, my pleasure.
MONTAGNE: Micheline Maynard is the senior editor of Changing Gears. She spoke to us from the studios of Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor.