General Motors Board of Directors Chairman, Ed Whitacre, known for his asset stripping and merger programme at telecoms empire AT&T, has taken the helm at GM.
He announced on the GM website that at its monthly meeting in Detroit on Tuesday, ‘the General Motors Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Fritz Henderson as Director, President and CEO of the company.’
Whitacre, who is believed to have forced Henderson’s resignation, said: ‘Fritz has done a remarkable job in leading the company through an unprecedented period of challenge and change.
‘While momentum has been building over the past several months, all involved agree that changes needed to be made.
‘To this end, I have taken over the role of Chairman and CEO while an international search for a new president and CEO begins immediately.
‘With these new duties, I will begin working in the Renaissance Center headquarters on a daily basis. The leadership team – many who are with me today – are united and committed to the task at hand.
‘I want to assure all of our employees, dealers, suppliers, union partners and most of all, our customers, that GM’s daily business operations will continue as normal.
‘I remain more convinced than ever that our company is on the right path and that we will continue to be a leader in offering the worldwide buying public the highest quality, highest value cars and trucks.’
He stressed: ‘We now need to accelerate our progress toward that goal, which will also mean a return to profitability and repaying the American and Canadian tax payers as soon as possible.’
In a statement on the collapse of the Saab sell-off, GM added: ‘The GM Board of Directors has received expressions of interest in Saab since the conclusion of negotiations with Koenigsegg Group AB.
‘The Board will evaluate potential bids between now and the end of December. At that time, we will determine whether a suitable arrangement for Saab exists.
‘If not, we will begin an orderly wind down of the global Saab business at that time.’
Two weeks ago, GM reported a net loss of $1.15 billion in the period since emerging from bankruptcy in July.
GM reported earlier Tuesday a 2.2 per cent fall in US sales of cars and other passenger vehicles against the figure for November 2008, to 151,427. Last month’s downturn followed an annualised rise of 4.0 per cent in October.
The US government has a 60.8 per cent stake in the new General Motors Company, in return for providing some $50 billion dollars in financing.
Canada, which provided $9.1 billion in loans, has an 11.7 per cent stake and a United Auto Workers union retiree healthcare trust fund holds 17.5 per cent.