New book of GM’s ex-CEO says Reuss was considered as replacement

Article by Eugene Conan, on January 25, 2013

Excerpts from the book written by the former chief executive of General Motors Co, Ed Whitacre, show some interesting information about what transpired within the carmaker years ago. Whitacre wrote that Mark Reuss, currently the president of GM’s North American operations, was considered as a possible replacement in 2010.

However, the board decided not to name Reuss due to his inexperience, thereby naming Dan Akerson as its next CEO. According to the excerpts of the book -- "American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA" -- Whitacre told the GM board he would not continue as CEO as the carmaker moved toward its fall 2010 initial public offering.

Whitacre then acknowledged Reuss as his heir, according to the excerpt published by Fortune magazine. Whitacre noted that Reuss managed to move up the executive chain in record time; moving from midlevel engineer to the No. 2 person in a matter of a year.

Whitacre said that Reuss’ key attributes include his poise and management potential. But, eventually Reuss was not selected since he was not in the job long enough to prove himself capable to be CEO. Whitacre’s book is due to be published in early February 2013. GM announced Whitacre's departure in August 2010, and in the following month, installed Akerson as its chief executive.

GM remarked that what were written in the book were Whitacre's comments, and the carmaker was focused on the future. In an e-mail to Reuters, GM spokesman Greg Martin remarked that the carmaker is now a company guided by new leadership and employees “who value the customer first in everything we do." He added that GM is grateful for Whitacre leadership during a difficult transition.

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