GM CEO To Step Down As Company Posts Profit
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
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Michigan radio's Tracy Samilton reports.
TRACY SAMILTON: At the end of an earnings conference call for analysts and media, GM's CEO Ed Whitacre chimed in. His news, he'll turn over the CEO reigns as of September 1st to GM board member Dan Akerson. Whitacre says everybody knew, including the board, that he wasn't in this for the long haul.
ED WHITACRE: My goal in coming to General Motors was to help restore profitability, build a strong market position and prepare this iconic company for success. Today we are clearly on that path.
SAMILTON: On the path? Yes, agrees Aaron Bragman, an auto analyst with IHS Automotive. But he's concerned that this change could really hurt GM, which has had three other CEOs in just the past year and a half, while it's recovering from a bruising bankruptcy. Especially because GM is preparing to announce an IPO - an initial public stock offering that will enable the U.S. Treasury to get at least partly out of the business of owning an auto company.
AARON BRAGMAN: To announce this days before announcing the IPO, which is the ultimate goal here for restructuring GM and getting it back public again is, frankly, bizarre.
SAMILTON: Gerald Meyers, a former CEO of American Motors Corporation puts it even more bluntly.
GERALD MEYERS: It's a mistake.
SAMILTON: Meyers says the potential investors in GM are likely to be shocked. And whatever you do, he says, don't shock the investors. He doesn't care if Whitacre, a long-time Texas native who came out of retirement to run GM, wanted to get back to the ranch.
MEYERS: Once he took the job, he didn't have any choice but to see it through, and he is not seeing it through. And I'm disappointed. I know Ed, he isn't that kind of guy.
SAMILTON: For his part, dealer Richard Genthe says he's not worried. Genthe doesn't know anything about Whitacre's successor, Dan Akerson, a senior executive at Carlisle Group. But he's confident that GM is now leaner and more focused on making great vehicles.
RICHARD GENTHE: This is the type of talk that I hear, talk that I hadn't heard before. So that all bodes very well for us and I'm very optimistic.
SAMILTON: For NPR News, I'm Tracy Samilton in Ann Arbor.
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