CHICAGO, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- General Motors Co. CEO Edward Whitacre Jr. will step down on Sept. 1, while GM board member Dan Akerson will succeed him to become the company's fourth top executive in 18 months, Detroit News reported on Thursday.
Akerson is a senior executive at the Carlyle Group, where he is managing director and head of global buyout. He was one of the board members named by the U.S. Treasury Department after it acquired a 61-percent stake in GM.
Whitacre sent an email to senior GM executives this morning as the news was being announced, in which he urged employees to offer support to Akerson.
Akerson, 61, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served on a Naval destroyer from 1970-1975, will be the second straight GM CEO with no executive experience in the auto industry and with a telecommunications background. Akerson told reporters they shouldn 't expect major changes when he takes over.
Akerson, who is also a director at American Express, will step down from Carlyle in the coming weeks.
The Treasury Department said it did not have to approve the move.
Akerson also previously served as CEO of XO Communications and chairman of Nextel Communications. He is also a former chairman and CEO of General Instrument Corp. His background in private equity may help reassure potential investors as GM mounts a "road show" to convince them to take part in the company's public offering.
Whitacre, 68, will step down after just 10 months on the job after the board forced out Fritz Henderson last December.
Whitacre will remain as chairman until the end of the year, when Akerson will assume the title.