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Apple should stay away from car-making, says former GM CEO Dan Akerson

Retired General Motors chief executive Dan Akerson believes that Apple Inc. should not venture into car-making and instead get more involved in auto electronics. “I think somebody is kind of trying to cough up a hairball here,” Akerson told Bloomberg in a phone interview. He said that if he was an Apple shareholder, he would be highly suspect of the long-term prospect of “getting into a low-margin, heavy-manufacturing” business.

He remarked that the auto industry is harder than people realize because of the regulatory and safety requirements. He said those who were not operating in the auto industry have a tendency to underestimate.

He said that Apple could find more potential in working with carmakers in areas of electronic operating systems and entertainment equipment. He even remarked that he would have turned over the infotainment and interconnectivity of every GM car to Apple when was still GM’s CEO. Akerson was GM’s top honcho from 2010 to 2014, when he stepped down to care for his wife.

Read the entire article Apple should stay away from car-making, says former GM CEO Dan Akerson

Former CEO Dan Akerson says problems at GM are worse than expected

Dan Akerson, former chief executive of General Motors, remarked in an interview with The Detroit News that the delayed ignition switch recall indicates a flawed corporate culture worse than he and other executives had originally recognized. Akerson said in the interview that GM needed a lot of change, adding that lot of “that culture wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”

Akerson remarked that the faulty ignition switch tied to 54 crashes and 13 deaths, was a “clarion call” for a values shift within the carmaker. He said that he thinks the new and the old part of the management team failed to fully realize “how deep some of the problems ran.”

Akerson exited from his coveted post as GM’s CEO in January to care for his wife who has cancer. Before becoming GM’s top honcho, Akerson was a managing director at Carlyle Group. He was then appointed by United States Treasury to GM’s board in 2009.

Read the entire article Former CEO Dan Akerson says problems at GM are worse than expected

GM CEO Mary Barra was not aware of faulty switches, says Dan Akerson

General Motors chief executive Mary Barra had no knowledge of the faulty ignition switches in its small cars linked to at least 13 deaths when she took the top post in January 2014, predecessor Dan Akerson has told Forbes. The report quoted Akerson as saying "of course not" after asked whether Barra "was thrown under the bus" by taking over the CEO role just before the carmaker issued the recall for 2.6 million small cars with defective ignition switch.

He noted that Barra has also said that by the time she knew of the problem, “she confronted it." Akerson announced his retirement in December 2013 and officially handed the role to Barra on Jan. 15, 2014. Barra remarked she and other GM executives only became aware of the issue on Jan. 31.

The carmaker has acknowledged that some workers already knew of the issue for more than a decade. Akerson told Forbes that Barra "didn’t know about" the issue. The ignition switch could shift out of the "run" position if shoved or weighed down by a heavy key chain.

Read the entire article GM CEO Mary Barra was not aware of faulty switches, says Dan Akerson

Dan Akerson is now vice chairman of Carlyle board

Dan Akerson is now back at Carlyle Group LP. Carlyle has appointed Akerson as vice chairman of the board of directors as well as special adviser. Akerson joined Carlyle’s ranks on March 1 and is tasked to provide operational, investment and management guidance to the investment teams, firm management and the board, Carlyle said in a statement.

Akerson previously worked at Carlyle as its chief of global buyouts and co-head of US buyouts before joining General Motors in 2009. His relationship with Carlyle can be traced back to the 1980s, when he was president and COO of MCI Communications Corp., a telecom company where William Conway was chief financial officer.

In 1987, Conway founded Carlyle with Daniel D’Aniello and David Rubenstein. Akerson was named chief executive of GM in 2010 and led the carmaker until it got out of government ownership, including overseeing its initial public offering.

Read the entire article Dan Akerson is now vice chairman of Carlyle board

General Motors chief executive Mary Barra will receive around $14.4 million in compensation for 2014, the carmaker said. Barra’s pay includes $1.6 million in salary, $2.8 million in short-term incentives and $10 million in long-term compensation. Barra’s $14.4 million pay will be larger than former CEO Dan Akerson received in 2012, pegged at $9 million.

GM has yet to disclose Akerson's compensation for 2013. There has been speculation on Barra's pay after GM said in January that a portion of her pay would total $4.4 million. At the time, GM did not announce Barra's long-term compensation since it is still subject to approval by GM stockholders in June. Since then, some commentators had questioned why a female CEO would receive a lower pay than her male predecessor.

GM said in a statement it now disclosed Barra’s total pay ahead of its proxy filing in April "to correct misperceptions created by comparisons that used only a portion of Barra's overall compensation." GM Chairman Tim Solso said in a statement that as a new CEO, Barra’s total compensation is in line “with her peer group and properly weighted so that most is at-risk." He said that GM’s performance will ultimately determine how much Barra will be paid.

Read the entire article Mary Barra to receive $14.4 million in 2014 as GM CEO, more than Dan Akerson

New General Motors chief executive Mary Barra will continue the path laid out by former CEO Dan Akerson.  During her first in-depth media briefing as CEO, Barra said that there will be "no right or left turns" from the course. She plans to "accelerate" GM's momentum by getting its regional operations on the same page; maintaining its strong balance sheet; and highlighting brand health over short-term gains in market share. "We're no longer just looking for viability," Barra said. "We're looking for growth and leadership in the operations that we have around the globe." Barra became a successor to a company that is thriving after almost three-and-a-half years of care under Akerson, who retired in January 2014 to take care of his sick wife.

Redesigned models like the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CTS have won a number of accolades and GM's vehicle quality and customer satisfaction rankings leveled up.

GM also logged 15 profitable quarters in a row and recently reinstated a quarterly dividend. During the media briefing, Barra explained the thinking behind the new executive setup that GM outlined with her appointment in December.

Read the entire article Mary Barra to follow path paved by Dan Akerson

For incoming chief executive Mary Barra, she is inheriting an “entirely new” General Motors that has recently managed to stave off the stigma of being owned by the United States government. Not only that, the current GM now boasts of an outstanding balance sheet, a clearer European strategy and a hit-making vehicle-development operation.

"This is a great company again," outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson told Barra and her new executive team in a ceremonial passing of the baton last week. "Don't lose it."

For Barra, the first woman ever to lead a global carmaker, this means that she would have to do more than just keep the current GM from reverting to the old one.  In over three years of being GM’s top honcho, Akerson has been trying to disentangle the carmaker’s bureaucracy and revitalize its brands – something that Barra needs to continue.

Read the entire article Mary Barra inherits healthy General Motors from Dan Akerson

GM officially announced today that Dan Akerson will step down as chairman and CEO on January 15, 2014. The big surprise is that he will be replaced by Mary Barra, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, was elected. Moreover, Barra will also join the General Motors board.

According to the official press release, Akerson, 65, pulled ahead his succession plan by several months after his wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. Thedore (Tim) Solso will succeed Akerson as Chairman.

“I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry,” Akerson said in a message to employees. Barra has 33 years of experience at General Motors and she has risen through a series of manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions. “With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today’s GM,” said Barra. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.” Dan Ammann, 41, executive vice president and chief financial officer, was named company president and will assume responsibility for managing the company’s regional operations around the world. [source: GM]

Read the entire article Official: Mary Barra will be the new CEO of GM as Dan Akerson retires

The redesigned 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan is in "another postal code” compared to the previous CTS, General Motors chief executive Dan Akerson remarked to Automotive News. However, some of Cadillac’s loyal customers have started complaining about the differences between the new and old CTS.

According to Akerson, some Cadillac customers have said that the stiffer, firmer suspensions in the new CTS are more performance oriented – different from the nice and smooth ride the older CTS offered. Akerson remarked that the nice and smooth Cadillac ride is now gone as the luxury market is now defined by “taut, tight cars.”

He remarked that Cadillac wants to compete as a global brand so it has to appeal to a much broader potential marketplace.

Read the entire article Dan Akerson says 2014 Cadillac CTS is in “another postal code”

Dan Akerson wants the person replacing him as the next chief executive of General Motors to be a “change agent” who is never satisfied with the status quo. GM’s top honcho told Automotive News in an interview that the next CEO should be able to guard against any complacency that could send the carmaker back into bad habits.

"There's no prototypical CEO," he said, adding that a good leader has to be “innately bright, intellectually curious.” He said that since he is on GM’s board, he will have a voice on the selection of the next CEO, whose attributes he outlined above. Reuters recently reported, citing unnamed sources, that Akerson may exit GM in 2014.

The report added that Akerson has yet to formally notify GM’s board of his plans and the carmaker has yet to commence a search for his replacement.

Read the entire article Dan Akerson says next GM CEO should be a “change agent”

Dan Akerson could step down as chief executive of General Motors Co. as early as 2014, Reuters reported, citing people privy with the matter. GM's board, however, is not in a rush to have Akerson depart and has yet to set a timeframe for hiring an executive search firm that will look for potential CEO candidates, whether from inside the carmaker or from outside, one of the sources familiar with the board’s thinking told Reuters.

Speculations about Akerson’s exit from GM gained momentum in April 2013 when the carmaker disclosed in a securities filing that the CEO’s compensation plan had changed. According to the filing, GM did not award Akerson any restricted stock units in 2012 "in acknowledgement of the possibility of his retirement before the completion of the three-year vesting period," which would be in 2015. Four senior GM executives are rumored to be the main candidates to replace Akerson.

Reported to be a heavy favorite is North American operations chief Mark Reuss. The board is expected to launch an official search once Akerson formalizes his exit plans, according to the person familiar with the board's thinking." He said that at some point, Akerson will decide “he has done what he has wanted to do and will step down.” 

Read the entire article CEO Dan Akerson to exit General Motors as early as 2014

General Motors will be selling a version of the Chevrolet Impala sedan that could switch between gasoline and natural gas, chief executive Dan Akerson has announced. The move is part of GM's plan to take advantage of a drilling boom in the United States that has made natural gas a more viable fuel for cars. The dual-fuel Impala will have one engine and two fuel tanks: one for gasoline and the other for compressed natural gas.

Drivers could almost instantly switch between the two fuels, depending on what they perceive as cheap and available. Akerson remarked that there will be nothing like the duel-fuel Impala on the road. A number of carmakers sell CNG-fueled pickups.  With the launch of the CNG-powered Impala sedan, GM is giving us a preview of what it is seeing as the future of natural gas in the passenger-car market. According to Akerson, CNG Impala will have a combined range of up to 500 miles. It boasts of a gasoline tank that could go up to 350 miles and a CNG tank that could go for 150 miles.

The CNG Impala sedan could be available next summer as a 2015 model. According to GM, CNG Impala will be sold to both fleet and retail buyers. The CNG Impala is expected to appeal to most corporate and government fleet customers -- which prefer fuel efficient vehicles and generally have easier access to natural-gas fueling stations, according to Alan Baum, an industry consultant.

Read the entire article Dan Akerson bets on the 2015 Impala Bi-Fuel, but will it sell?

General Motors is proposing to pay chief executive Dan Akerson around $11.1 million this year, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News. The document shows that GM is proposing to pay its top 25 executives around $82 million in compensation. A person privy with the matter identified Akerson as the highest-paid executive in GM.

Akerson received $7.7 million in compensation for 2011, when his target pay was around $9 million. GM’s former lending unit, Ally Financial Inc., is proposing to pay CEO Michael Carpenter around $9.6 million, according to another document obtained by Bloomberg.  Compensations for executives at seven bailed-out companies – GM, Ally, American International Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Chrysler Group and Chrysler Financial Corp. – were scrutinized and limited by the U.S. Treasury starting in 2009.

Except for GM and Ally, the other companies have already left the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program and are now unrestricted in terms of executive compensations. Greg Martin, a spokesman for GM, told Bloomberg that GM complies with all TARP restrictions and special master decisions while focusing on driving solid business results for the company.

Read the entire article General Motors proposes to pay $11.1 million to CEO Akerson in 2013

Dan Akerson, the CEO of General Motors Co., said that the automaker plans to restructure the company so that it will be out from under a well-established regional authority toward a structure based on global functions, according to insiders. The power is likely to be distributed from regional chiefs to global leaders in areas like marketing, purchasing and product development.

The sources said that the details haven’t been determined yet but GM is upgrading its accounting system to be able to support the new organization. The reorganization won’t be a formidable challenge for GM. Basically, the idea is that GM could be made more nimble and efficient with the presence of global chiefs.

Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group Inc., said that three years after GM restructured in a bankruptcy that was supported by the government, Akerson is dealing with something that has baffled his predecessors for many decades. He added that everybody realizes that there’s a need for the changes. Virag added that Akerson's efforts are hindered by GM’s size, history, complexity and his own inexperience when it comes to manufacturing.

Read the entire article GM CEO Dan Akerson planning a reorganization of the automaker

General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson bought 25,000 GM shares at $20.35 a share, with a value of about $500,000, according to a regulatory filing posted this week. Just a few days ago, Akerson pledged to be "relentless" in reviving the automaker so his purchase is just further proof of his commitment to the company.

This means that Akerson’s holdings are now at 272,828 shares, worth around $5.6 million. This purchase is being perceived as a vote of confidence in GM shares, which have stayed at about $20 for nearly the past two months. This stock is staying at about 40% lower than its IPO price in November 2010. GM has yet to release an official statement about Akerson's stock purchase.

When Akerson had talked with analysts last week about the company’s results in the second quarter, he shared that he was frustrated about its performance. He admitted that in plenty of key metrics, GM is “worse off” compared to one year ago. He said that his leadership team doesn’t find this acceptable and so the teams will have to stay on top of the situation.

Read the entire article Dan Akerson buys 25,000 GM shares with a value of about $500,000

The dispute between General Motors Co. Chief Executive Dan Akerson and former GM Global Marketing Chief Joel Ewanick started weeks before the latter was ousted, sources told Bloomberg. Ewanick was forced to resign from GM after he failed to properly divulge up to a third of the cost of the $559-million football sponsorship agreement with the UK's Manchester United team, the same sources divulged.

The sources also revealed that Akerson had punished Ewanick by having him carry a so-called "Farley Award," named for Ford Motor Co. marketing chief Jim Farley, over Ewanick's public profanity during a June conference in Cannes, France.

The sources also told Bloomberg that Akerson would no longer protect Ewanick after a witness stepped forward and GM discovered that its former marketing chief was spreading the price of a Chevrolet sponsorship agreement, with Manchester United, among other different marketing budgets to avoid going over the chief executive's spending limits.

Read the entire article Rift between GM’s Akerson and Ewanick started weeks ago, sources say

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.

Read the entire article Celebrated CEO Dan Akerson now pressured to fix European operations

Dan Akerson has given himself a “B” rating for his two-year performance as chief executive officer of General Motors Co. The rating means, according to Akerson, that he is not satisfied yet with his performance. One of Akerson’s feat as GM’s CEO was overseeing the company’s rise to throne as the world’s top-selling carmaker, replacing Toyota Motor Corp. Another feat was to steer the company into posting a $9.19 billion net income in 2011. 

Akerson, however, acknowledged that more is needed to be done, saying he has too much work to do to think about retiring for at a year or two. GM’s chief executive said the company is aiming to increase profits and build on its "fortress" balance sheet. Akerson revealed that he is aiming to turn Chevrolet and Cadillac into global brands, thereby reaping profits from all regions of the world.

Akerson remarked that GM would give up its position as vehicle top-seller if this could make the company the most profitable carmaker.If that happens, it would greatly boost GM’s stock price, which has surged 35% since the company initial public offering in November 2010. In an interview with Bloomberg, Akerson said he wanted GM to be the No. 1 in profitability in terms of either aggregate or margins.

Read the entire article GM’s Dan Akerson gives self a “B” grade for his two-year exploits

The overall compensation of Dan Akerson, the CEO of General Motors, increased by almost three times to $7.7 million in 2011, reflecting a pay increase for his first full year serving as chairman and CEO, GM said in the annual proxy statement submitted recently by the company. Akerson received a base salary of $1.7 million and $5.9 million in stock awards in 2011.

On Sept. 1, 2010, Akerson was appointed CEO and on Jan. 1, 2011, he started serving as the chairman. Akerson drove GM to achieve a record net profit of $7.6 billion in 2011 while increasing its market share in the U.S. as well as worldwide.

The U.S. Treasury Department controls the annual compensation of GM executives, including Akerson. The U.S. Treasury Department still owns 31.9% of GM's outstanding common shares that it got after the automaker was bailed out in 2009 by the federal government.

Read the entire article GM’s Dan Akerson compensation increased to $7.7 million in 2011

It may take "a while" before Opel, the German unit of General Motors, turns a profit, according to GM CEO Dan Akerson. He also said that he would not rule out shutting down plants as he restructures the money-losing subsidiary. He describes the automaker's operations in Europe as a "four-alarm fire." When asked whether he would have to close factories, Akerson declined to make a comment.

He revealed that negotiations with the labor union are ongoing. However, he stated that Opel will not recover until production or capacity and diminishing demand are balanced. Akerson added that unless a strong export model in the European region is available, "you're not making money."

He did not provide specific timeframe as to when Opel is expected to return to profit. In 2011, Opel and its UK-based sibling company Vauxhall abandoned plans to breakeven. The unit incurred an operating loss of $747 million at the end of 2011. Since the late 1990s, GM has lost at least $13 billion in the European region.  Media reports stated that the GM's facilities at Ellesmere Port in England and Bochum in Germany are under threat of closure.

Read the entire article GM CEO Dan Akerson disclosed Opel will take time to generate profit