Well, Ed Whitaker didn’t last too long as GM’s CEO, but now we are told that was all part of the plan. Whitaker will be replaced on September 1 by GM Board member Daniel Ackerson.
Perhaps we were expecting more, or more time, when it was reported in January 2010 that Whitaker, then interim CEO, was to be the “permanent” CEO of GM.
That term “permanent” made us think that he might have had more staying power than his predecessor, Fritz Henderson, who was “on the job” from March 31 to December 1, 2009. But then Fritz was “permanent” too until the GM Board, led by new Chairman Edward Whitaker, became concerned “… about whether G.M. can overhaul its corporate culture and make a fresh start under a holdover executive like Mr. Henderson, who has worked for the company for 25 years.” (New York Times December 2009).
Of course all of this changing of the guard at GM started with the departure of Rick Wagoner at the behest of President Barack Obama when it became clear that GM would need to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection as a result of the 2008/2009 economic downturn. This required taxpayer largess of $50 billion in aid to help the company remain solvent and changed GM from General Motors more to Government Motors.
So what’s in store for Ackerman, and will he be the permanent “permanent CEO” or continue the trend of his two predecessors and be looking for a job come the spring of 2011?
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