Business World

Saturday 20 January 2018

General Motors head to quit firm ahead of planned IPO

Jeff Green and Tim Higgins

General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre (pictured), who led the US automaker from bankruptcy to two straight profitable quarters, will step down as CEO on September 1 and be replaced by director Dan Akerson.

Mr Akerson (61) will also take over the role of chairman from 68-year-old Mr Whitacre at the end of the year, Detroit-based GM said yesterday. The 6ft 4in Texan, nicknamed 'Big Ed', joined the automaker in July 2009, the month it emerged from bankruptcy, and replaced Fritz Henderson as CEO in December.

Mr Akerson, a managing director of the Carlyle Group, will take over GM as it works toward freeing itself from the US government's 61pc ownership after last year's $50bn (€38.5bn) taxpayer bailout. The company was seeking to raise $12bn (€9.2bn) to $16bn (€12.3bn) this year in an initial public offering, said a person familiar with the plan.


"Dan Akerson is a very good person to take the company through the IPO," Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive, said on Bloomberg television. "While he hasn't led a traditional manufacturing company before, he certainly has the credentials to lead any company going through changes in its financial structure."

Mr Whitacre, known for building AT&T Inc into the biggest US provider of telephone service, had described steering the nation's largest automaker after bankruptcy as "a public service".

GM yesterday reported second-quarter net income of $1.54bn (€1.19bn) as vehicle sales and production increased. Profit rose 44pc from $1.07bn (€0.82bn) in the first three months of the year. Revenue increased 44pc from a year ago to $33.2bn (€25.6bn) on growing sales of the Buick Excelle in China and Chevrolet Equinox in the US, the firm said yesterday.

GM's IPO would be the second-largest in US history, behind Visa Inc's $19.7bn (€15.2bn) initial offering in March 2008. It is understood the company aims to sell a fifth of the US Treasury's stake.

GM is also said to have obtained a $5bn (€3.9bn) revolving line of credit from a group of at least 15 banks two days ago. More than half are named in the draft of the document as underwriters, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Credit Suisse. The automaker last month agreed to buy subprime lender AmeriCredit for $3.5bn (€2.7bn) to help it reach more customers with leases and loans to borrowers with faulty credit records.


Irish Independent

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