Earlier today, General Motors announced the good news that it turned a profit of $1.3 billion last quarter — oh, and CEO Ed Whitacre will be leaving at the end of the month.
Whitacre, who has only been sitting in the CEO seat for a few months, will be replaced by board member Dan Akerson on Sept. 1. He will remain on as chairman of the board until the end of 2010, at which point Akerson will take over that job as well.
According to Whitacre, who took some heat earlier this year for his ads proclaiming that GM had paid back the federal government in full, says he had never intended on growing old at GM:
It was my plan all along … to help return this company to greatness, and I didn’t want to stay a day beyond that.
The Whitacre-to-Akerson transition appears to be a passing of the baton, as opposed to a change in direction, for the auto giant.
“Ed and I share a common vision for the company, where it is today and where we hope to take it in the future,” said Akerson, who said it’s premature to discuss changed he might make once he’s the CEO. “I have to get my feet on the ground before I discuss that subject.”
GM is still 60.8% owned by the U.S. government. However, an IPO is expected from the company at any time; that would allow the feds to sell off at least some of its stock.