Mike Stevens | Aug 13, 2010

Just nine months after replacing Fritz Henderson as CEO, Ed Whitacre Jr will step down from the top spot at General Motors on September 1. Later this year, Whitacre will also step down from his role the Chairman of GM's Board of Directors.

"My goal in coming to General Motors was to help restore profitability, build a strong market position, and position this iconic company for success," Whitacre said today.

"We are clearly on that path. A strong foundation is in place and I am comfortable with the timing of my decision."

He added that the GM board had known since his first day as CEO that he did not intend to hold the office any longer than it would take to get the company back on its feet, following the company's 2009 bankruptcy.

It was obvious that I was not going to be at GM for the long haul," Whitacre said. "We have put a strong foundation in place, so I am very comfortable with my timing."

Stepping up as CEO and Chairman of the world's former number-one carmaker is Dan Akerson, 61, a member of the GM board since July 2009.

Akerson will be GM's fourth Chief Executive in 18 months, stepping into the role just as the carmaker finalises plans to file for a stock offering. Akerson will have his work cut out for him however, as GM is reportedly working to raise US$12 to $16 billion for its initial public offering.

"Dan Akerson has been actively engaged in and supportive of the key decisions and changes made at the new GM. He brings broad business experience, decisive leadership, and continuity to this role," Pat Russo, Lead Director of the GM board said.

"The board of directors deeply appreciates the leadership Ed has provided and is pleased with the serious commitment Dan is making to the company. We look forward to his leadership."

Like Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Akerson is a relatively new face in the automotive industry. He has previously worked in finance as a managing director at private equity firm The Carlyle Group, and in the telecommunications industry as CEO at XO Communications and Nextel Communications.

"There are remarkable opportunities ahead for the new GM, and I am honored to lead the company through this next chapter," Akerson said. "Ed Whitacre established a foundation upon which we will continue building a great automobile company."

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