CEO Akerson To Take The Reins At General Motors

A former telecom executive becomes the next CEO of General Motors on Wednesday. Dan Akerson replaces Edward Whitacre.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

General Motors has a new CEO today. Dan Akerson is GM's fourth CEO since last year. It's a sign of all the change and instability at the carmaker, which is still the largest in the U.S. market. But the former phone executive and financier is still a mystery man to many in Detroit.

MICHELINE MAYNARD: As far as people who follow the auto industry can tell, he's not really a car guy, and we're not 100 percent sure what he's bringing to the table here.

MONTAGNE: Auto reporter Micheline Maynard is senior editor at Chicago Public Radio's Project Changing Gears.

MAYNARD: He certainly proved himself in the IT and the high tech market. He led very well at Nextel and other places. But that was a while ago. He sort of disappeared into the private capital market, and now I think everyone is wondering, you know, who is Dan Akerson and what will he do with General Motors?

MONTAGNE: Akerson takes over at a critical moment for the carmaker. It's about to launch a public stock offering. It's rolling out key new models, and the company must fend off Ford, which is breathing down GM's neck for the number one spot in U.S. car sales.

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