Celebrated CEO Dan Akerson now pressured to fix European operations

Article by Anita Panait, on June 11, 2012

Directors of General Motors commended Dan Akerson for his sterling performance as the company’s chief executive and they are now urging him to find solutions for the carmaker’s loss-incurring European operations. If Akerson is able to turn around GM’s red-inked European unit, it could be his and the current board’s legacy. However, doing that is easier said than done, as analysts estimate the GM needs to pour in at least $1 billion to restructure just its German unit, Opel, adding that it may take years before GM Europe stops reporting losses. GM director Robert Krebs revealed that although the carmaker needs to close the plant now, it has to wait until 2014 before it can do it.

Krebs added that Akerson helped persuade the board to keep Opel, saying that it was the right decision, according to Autonews. According to Krebs, GM is planning to turn Opel into a “low-enough cost producer” so that the unit remains tough enough to survive in the bad times and be profitable in the good times. According to Krebs, as well as GM directors Neville Isdell and Patricia Russo, Akerson can stay as GM’s CEO as long as he wants.

Akerson gave himself a 'B' grade for his performance as GM’s chief as he steers the company to become the world's largest carmaker in 2011, when it posted a $9.19 billion in profit. There were some disappointments too, as GM’s  shares dropped 33 percent since its initial public offering in November 2010. GM’s directors are also urging Dan Akerson to begin grooming a successor for his post.

Topics: gm, ceo, dan akerson

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